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Illustrated. Seventh and Revised Edition. 

Crown 8vo, cloth, 5s. 
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"The book is one which may be warmly recommended for 
the simplicity with which it is written and the power of 
observation which it displays." — Aflicnaiiiii. 

Illustiations by the Author. Third Edition. 
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r v'^ 


MRS. BRIGHTWEX, F.E.S.,- -/r^ 

Anilior ot " W'lltl Xiitiiic Won hy k'liiiliuss," C-c. 





[All iii>lilx irscrvcd.] 


K.C.S.I., IM'.K.S., D.C.I.., LI..1)., tTC, 

Foniicrly Dircclor of the Koyal (.ianh'its, A'cw. 

Dkak Sir Josi'.ph II^okkk, — 

In convcrsiilion with you I have often been im- 
pressed liy your conviction of the importance of intlucinjj youny 
people to observe the elementary ficts of botany, and I have heard 
you express your admiration of the efforts made in this direction, in 
an earlier generation, by that distinguished botanist, I'rof. Ilenslow. 
\'ou have assured me of your sense of the value of independent 
observations made by young students, for themselves, in the simplest 
and clearest language. 

By your own example the stuilies of beginners have often been 
led in this direction, but in this little book, which I have ventured 
to jiroduce, and of which you have kindly accepted the dedication, 
I have not attempted to compete with e\en your least ambitious 

-Ml I have endeavoureil to do is to prepare the minds of young 
people for the study of fxjtany by explaining in the sinijilesl 
language some of the elementary phenomena of plant-life. Il 
is an humble experiment, but made, as I believe, on lines which 
are novel so far as they go, and essentially practical. 

If, as is loo likely to be the case, I have fallen into any technical 
errors, your good nature must not be held responsible for my fault. 
believe nie to be, 

\'ours very sincerely, 


,///77, 1897. 

*^* The greater portion of this zvork has 

appeared in serial form in " The 

Girl's Own Paper." 


ni'.X I was a )'(Hini4- i^irl I can well 

**»(¥% remember how much 1 loni^^efl for 
1^ some simple book that would help 

'^"^^ • '"^ ^*' learn, not merely the name of 
a plant and what class and order it be- 
longed to, but s(jmethinLi about its life-histor)-. 

It seemed very wonderful that, if I put seeds 
into the ground, dry and dead as they looked, 
I might feel sure young plants would presently 
come up ; that, if I planted an acorn, a young 
oak-tree would in due time be seen ; but how all 
this came to pass I could not discover. I had 
access to an excellent librar}-, but although I 
4 searched there liour after hour, and found main' 
a learned book about plants, the>- might as well 
1 have been written in Sanskrit for all I could 



understancl of their scientific pai,^e.s. There seemed 
nothini,^ suited to the mind of a thoughtful child, 
and although, since that long-ago time, endless 
books have been written for young readers and 
thinkers, delightful books, too, which meet the 
needs of those who desire information and in- 
struction, I have not hitherto met with one that 
makes the careful study of plant-life really inte- 
resting and practicable for those young people 
who may not have a teacher to help them in 
their study. 

It has been my aim in the little volume I 
now venture to send forth to my young friends, 
known and unknown, to supply this deficiency. 
I want to enable them to share the joy of spending 
hours in a garden learning to understand the 
structure of plants. I want to make them able, 
when they see a bud, or a root, or a twig, to 
know what the history of that object is, how it 
comes to have the shape it takes, how it deve- 
loped into its present condition, and what its 
next ft)rm will be. 

The possession of the simple facts which I have 
tried to make plain to every intelligence in the 


following pa^cs will turn a coiintr)' walk from a 
useless lounge into a iivcl)' object-lesson, delight- 
ful, from be^imiinj^ to end, alike to teacher and 
taught. Nor will I apolo<^ise for the simple 
ianguajrc which I have used, for ni}' design has 
been, while taking advantage of all the latest dis- 
coveries of science, to use no terms and intro- 
duce no ideas which cannot be made intelligible 
to a thoughtful child. In the hoi)c tiiat c\cn so 
humble an effort as this ma}- not be without a 
use in enlarging and quickening a sense of that 
infinite harmony which runs through every part 
of the Creator's marvellous plan of nature, I put 
forth, not without a full sense of its inadequacy, 
this little volume. It has, at an)' rate, given me 
an excuse for endless hours (^f pleasure within 
the precincts of my own woods and garden. 

I have to acknowledge great indebtedness to 
Mr. J. VV. Odell, F.R.H.S., whose wide knowledge 
of botanical science has been of essential service 
in ensuring, as far as possible, the accuracy ol 
my statements. 





ADAf^AI ION . . . . -25 

I'lanl collectitMis — General view of vegetable growth — 
Lowest forms of plant life — Water buttercup — \'allis- 
neria — Water-lily — Mare's-tail — Sea-weeds — Cacti — 
Orchids — Tillandsia — Seed dispersion. 


Roots . . . . . -47 

Root fibres — Hygroscopic water — Root hairs-The evil 
of stagnant water - Hinding roots — Carex arenaria — 
I'saninia arenaria — Cheddar cliffs — Correlation of roots 

— Land, water, and air roots — Laurel root in well — 
Horizontal stem.s — Poa — Earth-nut — I'otato — 
Onion — Air root.s — Hoya — Aeroids — Parasitic root.s — 
\ellow rattle — Clover dodder — V\a.\ dodder — Mistletoe 

— Root-cap— Office of the root — (Growing nuistard-seed 
— Strength of roots. 




'I'kiU': Stkms . . ... -73 

Expansion of liark- Shfildinj; I lark — Repairing injury — 
K])i(lcrniis — l-'ihro-vascular bundles. 

CIlAl'TKK l\. 

Lkavks . . . . . -97 

A leaf a digestive organ — Petiole and blade venation 
— Monocotyledons — Dicotyledons — Radical leaves — 
Pliyllotaxis — Epidermis — Stomata — Influence of foliage 
upon climate — Eucalyptus — Mesophyll — Chlorophyllon — 
I'allisade tissue — Protoplasm — Absorption of carbon- 
dioxide — Jewel-weed — Alcheniilla — (Irowing wheat — 
Vertical leaves of eucalyptus cork layer — Fall of the leaf 
— Useful products of trees. 


lilMis ...... 

Buds formed in summer — lidllnw stalks of plane-tree — 
Terminal and axillary l)uds — Spiral arrangement — Pollard 
willow — Suckers — Dormant buds — Bulbils on lily stem 
— Protection from cold — Leaf and flower buds — Folding 
of embryo leaves and flowers. 


Fl.OVVKRS ...... 

Floral envelopes — Buttercup — Gamopetalous — Poly- 
petalous — Epipetalous — Apocarpous — Woodsorrel — 
Syncarpous pistil— Geranium-coloured bracts — Composite 
flowers — Fading flowers — Flower expansion •— Flower 
dis.section— Cruciferous plant.s — Papilionaceous flowers — 
Honey glands — F^ntomophilous flowers — Catkins — 
Moniecious and dicecious flowers — Arum — Protection 
from insects and moisture. 



cox TEXTS 15 


I'OI.I.INAI KIN . . . -175 

Cross i)i)lliii;Uinii ill (lu^'s iiificui)' and lia/cl l'iii-i.-)cil 
l)rimiuse — Maiden pink — Wind pollination Araucaria — 
I'oliinalion by moths — Nottinji;ham catchfly— Attraction 
of scent- -liartsia — St. Jolni's wort jajwnese toaj-lil)- 
I'ollinalinn I))- luMiiniinj;-l)irds. 

Fkrtii.isation . . . . • 193 

I'ollcn fjrains Micropylo — Nucelliis I'",nil)ryo-sac — 
Experiment witli lily pollen Chanj^es after fertilisation 
— (Irowth of emhryo Alhumen— Arillus in spindle-tree — • 
Yew and nulmej; Persistent style of clematis — Ovules — 

("haiiLies in (i\ar\' of oak and datura. 

Fruit ...... 209 

Wide meaning of the word fruit — Diversity in appearance 
and character of various fruits — Dehiscent and indehiscent 
pericarp — Epicarp —Chestnut involucre — Mesocarp and 
endocarp — Pericarp — Achene — .Strawberry an apocarpous 
fruil — Pineapple — Irritating hairs — Resinous protection of 
cones — Coiled stem of cyclamen — Seed-pod of ivy-leaved 
toad-flax hidden in wall crevices. 

DisPER.siON OF Fruits and Sp:eus . .227 

Dispersion by hooks and spines — Martynia — Testa — Di 
Quaglia — Burdock — Hedstraw — Dispersion by winged 
seeds or achenes — Sycamore, pinus tribe, birch — Dis- 
persion by silky down or hairs -Dandelion, goat's-beard, 


trioundsel — Willow-herl) — Bird ajjency — Seas and rivers 
— Dispersion by elastic force— Pansy — Balsam— Furze- 
Broom— Squirting cucumber -Dispersion by hygrometric 
sensitiveness — Barley— Feather-grass— Mexican insect- 
Dispersion by sticky glands— Lin ncea Borealis — Salvia 
glutinosa — Plumbago — Ground-nut self-buried. 

Germination . . . • • 249 

Testa and its various forms— Colloniia— Axis, tigelUun. 
hypocotyle — Centre of growth — Double embryo — Three 
conditions required for germination — Varying time in 
different plants— Cedar of Lebanon — Railway-bank flora 
—Broad beans— Cress seed— Tillandsia— Collecting .seed- 
ling trees — Fern and moss spores — Prothallium — Arche- 
gonium — Antheridium germ cells — Capsular fruit of 
mosses — Protonema. 

l*llNSK)LOC;V OK Pl..\NTS .... 273 

Processes of plant growth — Nutrition — Water and gas as 
plant food — Water culture — Osmosis — Experiment 
showing absorption — Nitrates — Insectivorous plants able 
to absorlj nitrogen to .some extent — Second experiment 
on absorption — Preparation of plant food — Water bouquet 
— Transpiration — Use of Stoniates — Respiration — Seeds 
give off carbon-dioxide — Effect of light, darkness, and 
heat — Reproduction — Protococcus — Strawberry runner — 
Asexual and sexual rcjiroduclion — Efifect of cold upon 


In.skctivorous Plants ...» 295 

Special purpose of each plant organ — Various modes by 
which plants entrap in.sects — Sundew — Venus fly-trap — 




Tra|)|)iiij; insects l)y slicky liairs l!y viscid j^laruls — 
]iy i>itchcrs cuiilaiiiiny fluid Sarraccnias Knridula 
Ulricularia — Ncpenlhcs — rinjjiiiciila. 

Habit of (Irovvth in Plants . . -313 

Tropical forest — I'crching orchids not parasites -Mistletoe 
— \'ellow rattle — Saprophytes — Murderer fig-tree — 
Mutualism — Corn blue-bottle — Clover and bacteria — 
Symbiosis in white poplar and funjjus — Sea anemone and 
alg;e — Bryony tendril — Mycetozoa. 

Glossary . . . . . .335 





CATTLEVA vvAi.KKRiANA (A Brazilian Oir/iiii) 



I'OA r.UI.HOSA .... 

1-II.V liUl.lill.S 






TURKEV OAK STEM (stnuk hv li<^/lt llill^!^) 







. 36 






■ 56 


. 60 
















AND ROOTS . r . . -93 


NETTED VEINS . . . . . lOO 


DI-COTVLEDON . . . . . I02 


STOMATA . . . . . .107 

LEAF SECTION . . . . . IO9 



OAK IN WINTER . . . . . I27 

OAK IN SUMMER . . . . I2g 

HORSE-CHESTNUT . . . . -135 

YOUNG BEECH . . . . . 138 



PEAR LEAF . . . . . I40 




WINTER CHERRY ..... 160 

WALLFLOWER . . . . . 162 

SWEET-PlvV . . . . . 165 

BIRCH KKUIT ..... 168 


LIST or /I i.rsTh'.irioxs 21 


Willi AKl'M . . . ; .170 

I'kiMkosK . . . . .179 

MAIDKN I'INK . . . . I ,S J 

AklST()l.()( HI A . , . . .186 

STAl'KI.IA . . . . . .188 

HYFKKKIM . . . . . 1 89 

TOAD-I.II.Y . . , .191 

POLLEN-GRAINS . . . . 196 


POLLEN-TUBE . . . . 1 98 


SPINDLE-TRKK ..... 204 

NUT.MKc; AND MACK .... 205 

SECTION OF PEACH . . . .216 

POPPY CAPSULE . . . . 217 

WOODY PEAR . . . . .218 

PINE CONES . . . . . 223 


BIRCH SEED ..... 232 

PARACHUTE ..... 234 


goat's- BEARD , . . . 236 

COCOS DE MER . . . . 238 



bi(;nonia SEED ..... 252 

BROAD BEANS . . . , . 2 qS 






ACORN ..... 


YOUNG DATE-PALM . . . • 269 


SKELETON LEAF . . . • .284 

SUNDEW ..... 3°° 

VENUS FLY-TRAP . . . • • 3°4 

SARRACENIA ..... 3°^ 

P.LADDERWORI' . . . • • 3°^ 


P.UTTERWORT . . . . -311 

GIANT COW-PARSNIP {Hcmclfii III Gigaiilciiiii) . 325 

CORN HLUE-P.OTTLE . . . .326 

BRYONY TENDRIL . . . -331 


' To me l)c Nature's volume broad display'd, 
And to peruse its all-instructiiifj page ; 
Or, haply catching inspiration thence 
Some easy passage raptur'd to translate, 
My sole delight." 



' My heart is awed within me, when I think 
Of the great miracle that still goes on 
In silence round me — the perpetual work 
Of Thy creation, finished, yet renewed 
For ever. Written on Thy works, I read 
The lesson of Thine own eternity." 





III*", stud}- of plants appears to mc 
to be one of the most delightful and 
|-4^ instructive that can be taken uj) by 
youni4" people, it has this advantage over 
man\- other pursuits that it can be carried 
on almost everywhere, for, even if the student's 
lot is to live in a town, there are generally bo- 
tanic gardens within reach, and visits paid in the 
country are made the more enjoyable when some 
special stud\- can be carried on in the dail}- 

Then collections of dried lea\es and flowers 
can be formed during the summer, and the ar- 
rangement and classification of these will provide 
[)lcasant winter occupation. 


I fear that many young people are apt to 
consider botany a very dry study. They are 
naturall)' repelled by the long words and man>- 
technical terms used in describing plants. 

It has long been my belief that the study of 
botan\- should be approached through the garden 
rather than the schoolroom, beginning with a 
country ramble which should be an object-lesson 
opening out endless paths for future study. 

Our Heavenly Father has given us a beautiful 
world to live in, and, when our eyes have once 
been opened to observe what lies around us, 
nature becomes like an exquisite book of pictures, 
alwa)'s revealing to us something new and won- 
derful as we turn over each fresh page. 

It is suited to all ages ; the bab)' child begins 
by gathering daisies and buttercups, while older 
children make wild-flower collections and perhaps 
work in their own little gardens watching the 
grf)wth of seeds and slips. 

The beaut)' of ferns and mosses is sure to 
lead to some painstaking stud)' of those fascina- 
ting growths. 

Later on the fact that all trees have flowers 

.in.ii'T.mox 29 

comes as a surprise to the uiK^bservant, and thus, 
when rightly guided, youn<^ people can hardly 
fail to love a pursuit that {)r{)mises such endless 
sources of interest. 

In the chapters that will follow on the subject 
of jilant life, I do not purpose to write for quite 
y<nui<; children, as my hoj^e is that older readers 
will explain what is written, and make it inte- 
resting to the little ones as they walk in gardens 
and fields, giving as it were object-lessons on 
buds, leaves, and flowers, and training young 
minds to search for themselves into the wonders 
that lie around them. 

I low much there is to learn about, even in 
the simplest things, some of the succeeding 
chapters will endeavour to show, for example: 

How young plants grow out of seeds ; 

Mow seeds are dispersed ; 

How much is folded up in a bud ; 

How flowers are formed ; 

How the bark splits off different trees. 
Any one of these subjects would need very 
careful, jjatient observation trul)- to understand 


I stand as it were only on the threshold of 
scientific research, and look with wonder at the 
work of such a student as Darwin, who gave 
twenty long years to observation of the common 
earth-worm before he wrote his deeply interesting 
book upon it. Again, we see Sir John Lubbock 
giving years of his life to the growing of seeds 
and their seed leaves, in order to learn exactly 
how plants begin their life, and two very thick 
volumes are required to contain the vast amount 
of information he has thus obtained. 

These two examples will suffice to show that 
the minutest objects in nature are worthy of 
reverent attention, and if these chapters tend to 
awaken young peoi)le to a perception of this 
fact and act as a humble guide to new lines 
of thought, I shall feel that they have not been 
written in vain. 

I fear it is impossible to cx[^lain the processes 
nature is carrying on in the plant-world without 
occasionally using scientific words, but, when I 
am obliged to do so I shall try to explain their 
meaning/ and when once we rightly understand 

' Sec glossary at llic end of the liook. 

ADM' I Alios 31 

an exact cxj)ressi(Hi we soon be^Mii Ui use it, 
because it is more convenient and (jften saves 
repeatinL,^ a lon<; sentence. 

I would ask ni)' readers to tr}' and obtain 
from their gardens and fields the various objects 
mentioned at the close of each chapter, and 
com[iare them with the plates, learning all about 
them as they read the letterpress. 

This will, I feel sure, add much interest to the 
study, for having something to collect and ex- 
amine tends to lighten mental work and enables 
us better to understand descriptive writing. 

In this introductory chapter I will simp!)- take 
a general view of \egetable growth and its 
adaptation to the situation in which it is found. 

In many respects plants recjuire the same 
conditions as animals, birds, and insects ; they 
must have air, food, moisture and light in order 
to attain healthy growth, and although they differ 
from animals in being usuall)- stationary, their 
life is carried on in a vcr)" similar wa)'. Let us 
take a forest tree as a t}pe. 

It is anchored in the soil by its roots which 
are its feeding organs ; through ihem it draws 


up various kinds of nourishment from the earth 
in which it stands. 

The roots by several chemical processes render 
the elements they have taken up from the soil 
fit for the nourishment of the tree ; they send 
it up through the stem and branches into the 
leaves, and these being the breathing organs 
have essential work to do in receiving from the 
air, and giving out again, certain gases which 
contribute largely to maintain the life and vigour 
of the tree. Thus it grows year by year, pro- 
ducing annually its flowers and seed, which is 
the end and aim of all plant life. 

We can trace another analogy with animal 
life, in the necessity for pure sweet air, plants 
growing in a vitiated or smoke-laden atmosphere 
soon showing unmistakable signs of weakness. 
The stunted hedges and trees on the fringe of 
London always remind me of the poor, ill-grown 
children of the slums. 

l^csidcs the plant life which we see around us in 
the shape of trees, shrubs, and flowers, there are 
lower and j^erhaps still more wonderful forms of 
vegetable life afftjrding endless fields of study. 


Mosses, lichens, aiul W\\v^\ we are familiar 
with everywhere in the country, but below these 
a.^ain are such l,mo\\ ths as the L;"reen stain ' w-hich 
makes the tree trunks in moist places as brilliant 
in colour as the lea\es theinselves. Looked at 
throui^h a lens we see the c(jlour arises from a 
^M-owin^- plant of extremel)' simple form, little 
more in fact than a succession of cells, each living 
and increasing " after its kind." 

Again, if we consider the process of fermenta- 
tion, we find that wlien it is set up in a cask of 
wine its action is due to the growth of a minute 
N'cgetable that feeds uj^on the alcohol and sugar, 
and b\- robbing tlie wine of those two elements 
turns it into vinegar or acetic acid. 

A somewhat similar growth causes the thick 
jell)'-like substance we sometimes find in our ink- 
glass when it has been allowed to remain too long 
without renewal ; the minute germs floating in the 
air ha\e found the ink suitable to them, and thus 
their mxcelium ~ begins to form at the bottom of 
the glass, to the great discomfort of the writer. 

The j'cast with which our bread is fermented is 

' Protococcus. l"ii>,l lonn of hmijditl grovvtli. 


another of these minute plants, and consists of 
oval cells which multipl}- with great rapidity when 
placed in a pan of flour, and kept in a warm 

By the careful study of these lower forms of 
vegetable life, Tasteur, Koch, Frankland, and 
others ha\c discoxered and classified the germs 
or microbes,! as they are called, which gi\e rise to 
various diseases. In books upon the subject, their 
different shapes are figured as they appear when 
immensely magnified, so that we can see that which 
will give rise to consumption, erysipelas, or cholera, 
and one reads with deep wonderment of all that 
science has ascertained of late years as to the 
presence in the air of these seeds of disease 
which are ever floating more or less around us. 
Rut for the restraining hand of God, it appears 
as if universal sickness and death would be our 

Leaving these lower forms of growth, we may 
consider the three divisions into which plants are 
naturally classed as to their duration of life. 

Annuals are those which grow and flower, and 

' Small living atoms. 


form their seeds in one year, within which their 
life-histor)' is closed. 

Biennials produce leaves only in the first j'car ; 
by their aid they la)' up stores of nutriment in the 
form of tuberous roots, on this food they can exist 
throuf^h the winter, produce flowers the following 
summer, perfect their seeds, and then die. 

To this class we owe such useful plants as the 
carrot, parsnip, beetroot, and man\' others which 
afford us such nourishing vegetable diet. 

Perennial plants live on for an indefinite number 
of years, flowering annually, in some cases dying 
down to the root in autumn, and producing fresh 
foliage the following year. 

Water plants seldom have a fixed root, but re- 
main floating, borne up and kept in position b}- the 
water, their roots being the means b)- which, in 
conjunction with the lea\es, the)' derive nourish- 
ment from air and water. It is well worth while 
to observe the two forms of leaves in the water 
buttercup. Those on the surface are three-lobed, 
flat, and niun(l,lhe)' absorb from the air such 
as the plant requires ; while the leaves beneath 
the surface are di\ idcd into threads so as to offer 



no obstruction to the flow of water and enable the 
plant to collect needful food from the water. It 
can vary the form of its leaves according to its 
requirements, since in runnini;^ streams it may 
often be found with the hair-like leaves only. 



On the other hand, if its seeds are sown in moist 
earth, the seedlings will f^'row and develop those 
flat leaves onl\- which are characteristic of land 
plants. This water buttercup, therefore, gi\-es us a 

.in.ll'l.ll IDS' 37 

woiulcrful example of adaptaticjn to surrounding^ 

.\(la|)lali()n is remarkably shown in tlic Vallis- 


neria, a s^rass-like water-plant, found in Southern 
Europe;' it grows in freshwater lakes, rooted in the 

' It Ciin j^cncrally l)i; met with at naturalists" shops where aquaria 
are sokl. 


mud, and yet its flowers need to be fertilised in the 
air. In order to effect this, the small male flowers 
detach themselves from their stems, and, rising 
through the water, float about upon its surface. 
The female flowers are borne on a stalk, spirally 
twisted, so that it can uncoil and allcjw the flower 
to reach the top of the water whether it be deep 
or shallow. There the two kinds of flowers meet, 
the .seeds are formed and the stem coils up again 
and brings the capsule below the surface, where 
it gradually matures. 

The water-lily can grow a long or short stem 
as the depth of the water may require to enable 
its leaves to lie flat upon the surface. I have 
gathered lily flowers in my lake with stems from 
four to five feet long, where the plant happened 
to be growing in deep \\ater. 

in such [slants as the mare's-tail {Hippuris 
v/i/garis), we find the stem specially adapted to 
a submerged life. Growing out of mud at the 
bottom of a stream the plant upholds its slender 
stalks by two different methods. Inside the epi- 
dermis (or outer skin) a strand of rather tough 
tissue runnini; through the centre skives flexible 


support, whilst the rest (jf the space is filled up 
with very iarj^e air cells, which i(\\c such buoyancy 
io the stems that e\en if the\' are three feet in 
length they are kept upright in the water, rising 
ten or twelve inches above the surface. It is a 
\aluable as well as a curious plant, as it has the 
propert)' of absorbing the gases emitted b)- stag- 
nant water, and tends thus to purify the air. 

The same power of adaptation is to be found 
in sea-weeds. Those growing on rocky shores 
having short fronds C(jvered with fructification, 
while out at sea, ribbons of oar-weed may be found 
many )-ards in length, formed, like the gulf-weed, 
of tough texture to bear the friction of wa\es and 

If we were tra\elling in a Mexican desert, we 
should find those remarkable plants which can be 
so well studied in the cactus-house at Kew Gardens. 
Hearing in mind that for many months the plant 
must do without a drop of rain, or in fact without 
moisture of an\- kind, it has been necessar)' that 
the leaf-surface should be reduced to prexent loss 
of moisture b)' evaporation, and so spines take 
the place of leaves, and the stems are encased 


in a thick leathery skin, which protects the plant 
from the burning heat of the sun. Very little 
moisture escapes through this thick green epi- 
dermis ; therefore when rain falls the plants receive 
and store up their liquid food, and live sparingly 
upon it during the long periods of drought, which 
last for three-quarters of the year. Some of these 
cacti, as we see them at Kew, are tall, straight- 
stemmed plants, others low-growing rounded 
masses, little s[)in\' cushions, almost like vegetable 

In the arid prairies of Texas, advantage is taken 
of the water}' stores of the cactus, for when other 
sujjplies fail, its fleshy stems arc cut open, and and cows greedily devour the succulent 
food, which answers the purpt)se of drink, as well 
as affording nutritious fodder. 

Oin- British spurge-plants ha\e green lea\es, 
a thin epidermis, and all the ordinary characters 
(il the |)lants of a temperate region, but b}' com- 
paring them with the s])urges found in Madeira, 
we see how climate adaptation to differing 
conditions. One of these spurges growing in my 
greenhouse has a tall column-like stem, no leaves, 



and a thick leather)- skin, which would enable it 
to bear a hot, dr\' climate. It tlui> nn'niics the 
yiaiit cacti of Mexico. 

We ma\' trace another contrast in om" comnion 

I. A'ni.l.VA WAI.KKklANA {il Ihiizil Id II Olilllil). 

L;roun(lsel and the larL;e succulent L;'roundsels of the 
Cape and the ("anar)- isles, w ith their thick Hesh)- 
lea\es, the difference in form and texture being 
simpl}' an expression of the w(jnderful modification 
due to climate. 


The lovely tribe of orchids make the same 
provision for long periods of drought. Many of 
the species live in countries where the rainy season 
lasts about six months, and is succeeded by as 
many months of dryness and heat. 

The air-plants we f)btain from these countries 
have large pseudo-bulbs, that is, the stems are 
enlarged so as to be storehouses of nutriment upon 
which the plant exists, and by means of which 
it brings out the gorgeous flowers which make 
Brazilian forests such fairylands of beauty ; every 
tree-branch being laden with parasitic orchids, 
their lovely blossoms lasting month after month 
without the aid of rain or dew, because Nature 
has provided each plant with its special store of 
food, and has thus adapted it to the position it is 
created to adorn. 

Another of these pcrching-jilants is Tillaiuisia 
Usnoides, known in Florida as Spanish moss, and 
often called "old man's beard." It hangs from 
the tree-branches in tufts, like grey hair, and grows 
in such ])rofusion that it is collected and used for 
stuffing cushions. This curious plant has no roots, 
but simply hangs from the branches, and lives like 

An.iri.inox 43 

the orchids by absorbing' water frcnn the moist air 
ill the humid forests where it is found. 

The absorption by the long, hanging, grey roots 
of the orchids in one case, and b>- the finely-divided 
lea\es and stems in the (jther, are both instances 
of the wonderful wa)' in which Nature " adapts " 
the parts of a [)lant to its re([uircments. 

It often happens that seeds, blown hither and 
lliither by the wind, chance to fall upon places 
w hich are quite unsuitable to their mode of growth ; 
then we have an opportunity of seeing how their 
power of adaptation enables them to triumph over 
almost insuperable difficulties. 

I have observed a tiiu' i)lant of groundsel 
growing out of a chink in a wall where there 
was scarcely any soil fn^m which it could derive 
nourishment, contriving to live on, however, and 
make the best of its hard lot. Its stem, which 
should have been a foot high, could onl\- attain 
about two inches, and instead of dozens of leaves 
it had but four, and \et it sur\i\ed and even 
produced two small flowers, thus touchingly dis- 
playing its power of adaptation. 

Another more remarkable instance which occurs 



to me was that of a seedling Scotch fir, which haci 
rooted itself in a lump of house-leek on the top 


of a garden wall. For eight years the young tree 
managed to live and grow, until it became a sym- 

ADAl'l Alios 45 

metrical \\cll-l:)raiichc(l fir-tree, almost twelve inches 
hii^h. \\y a supreme effort it proclucefl a crop of 
miniature cones, :\U(.\ soon after it ciied from 
drought and star\ation, the wonder beini;' that it 
could ha\e Ii\ed so \m\\^ u])on the modicum of 
food the barren wall supplied, besides liaxint^ to 
entlure at times periods of scorchin;^" heat as well 
as dnni^ht. The chief interest in this example is 
centred in the fact that as soon as fruit-bearin<^ 
lias been attained, then, and not till then, the little 
tree died, showing" how persistently under all 
hindrances and difficulties a plant will encleavour 
to carr)' out the |)urpose of its creation. 

We have seen in these instances some striking 
examples of the wa\- in which plant-life is adapted 
to its surroundings. Our examples have been 
such as are easy of attainment, and such as we 
can verify with our own eyes ; but even more 
wonderful are the adaptations hidden awa\' in 
the recesses of the plant, and as we progress in 
our stud}- these arrangements of cells and tissues 
will be re\ealed to us. In order however to see 
them, and to undi-r^tand their true significance, 
we must proceed step by step to stud\- the parts 


of an ordinar}' plant ; because it is only by first 
mastering all we can of one part of a plant, and 
then comparing that part with other plants, that 
we can hope to gain real knowledge. Accordingly 
in our next chapter we shall take the root as our 
starting-point, and ascertain its functions and uses, 
and the part it has to play in the econom}- of the 

Specimens to be obtained : — Green stain on tree- 
bark (^Protococcus) ; yeast ; annual, biennial, and 
perennial plants ; water buttercup leaves ; vallis- 
neria ; water-lily stems ; mare's-tail plant ; cacti ; 
spurge ; orchids ; tillandsia ; plants growing in 
wall crevices. 



' While thus through all the stages thou hast push"( 
Of treeship — first a seedling, hid in grass ; 
Then twig ; then sapling ; and, as century roll'd 
Slow after century, a giant hulk 
Of girth enormous, with nioss-cushion'd root 
Upheaved above the soil." 





if! V.V us begin our stu(l\- of roots by 
considering the wav' in which plants 
obtain their nourishment from the 
earth, and are kept in an upright posi- 
tion by means of their root-fibres. These 
being out of sight, we may easily not be familiar 
witii this part of the economy of ])lant life, but we 
shall soon see what important duties the roots ha\-e 
to fulfil, and how much thc\- \ar)- in character and 
appearance according to the soil, the climate, and 
the work they arc rccjuired to do. The greater 
number of annual plants (those which live only 
one }'earj ha\e fibrous roots, and of these we can 
find examples almost ever}'whcre. A piece of 

groundsel or tuft of grass will answer our purpose. 

4 4y 


(,)ii |)ullini;- it (Hit of the i^rouiul we see a bunch of 
uhitisli tlircads or fibres spriny,"ing from the crown 
of the |)laiit which is the junction between the 
stem and the root;, and on these slender fibres are 
hairs which are realh' the active part of the root, 
for it is onl)' throUL,di these hairs that the rootlets 
are able to absorb the licjuid from the soil, the 
fibres simply actiny; as channels to c(jn\e)' the 
watery nourishment to the stem and leaves. 

Common earth consists of small particles of 
mineral substances such as flint, chalk, or iron, and 
also of such vegetable matter as decayed leaves 
and rotten wood. 

The spaces between the })articles are more or 
less filled with air, each mineral particle being 
enveloped with a film of water. However dry the 
soil may appear, this will always be found to be 
the case. It may be tested by weighing in an 
agate balance some dry soil on a summer's clay. 
'I'here is a ver\- delicate instrument called a 
h\-groscope, which can tell us when there is the 
slightest amount of moisture in the air, and a 
clever German writer, V'on Sachs,' has termed this 

' Author of " N'egelahlu I'liysiology." 

filiii of w.iti-r, which L,'athors round i-arlh-particles, 
hydroscopic w.ilcr. 1 1 has been ascertained by 
careful ex|K'riinenl that it i^ onl\- on this fleh'cate 
uaterx" tihn that the root-h.iirs of phmls arc able to 
(cc(\. As these hairs drain au'a\' the hy^roscojjic 
film it is always beiiii;' renewed b\' the free water 
which comes from rain and dew . The free water 
of the soil is constant!}' passini;' from the surface to 
the subsoil, and b\' this action plant-food, in the 
form of soluble earth salts, is presented to the 
roots. The passage of the water is of the highest 
service to the roots, since the warm air follows the 
water through the soil, and helps to oxidise the 
mineral particles ; these are thus rendered soluble, 
and are taken u[j b\- the fine films of water, and 
so indirectl\- the roots are fed. If, however, there 
is no outlet for tlic water and the soil becomes 
water-logged this beneficial action is retarded, and 
to land-roots the water is hurtful. 

W'e can now understand \\h)- stagnant water 
in the ground is so injurious to plant-life, as it 
prevents the needful air from coming int(j contact 
with the roots, and this is the reason why farmers 
are careful to remove the surplus water from their 


fields by thorough drainage and ploughing. Roots 
adapt themseh'es \er)' wonderfully to their situa- 

This jjiece of grass, which we are examining, 
if it grew in sanch' soil, would have its root-fibres 
covered with a downy growth to enable them the 
more readily to absorb every particle of moisture 
in the sand. Dr. Bonar speaks of the date-palm 
as having this same characteristic. " These palm 
roots are peculiarly fitted to obtain every drop of 
water that the sand contains ; they consist of long 
fleshy strings or ropes, shooting straight down 
into the sand, in numbers quite beyond our 
reckoning, and extending over a large circle." 

The tendency of fibrous roots to bind sand 
together is taken advantage of on many of our 
sea-coasts, where the sand blows inland and 
renders acres of ground sterile and useless. 
There, if the Carex arenaria (a kind of sedge) is 
planted, its roots will spread far and wide, inter- 
lacing and creeping through the sandy soil, until 
in time the latter becomes solid and no longer 
drifts inland. 

i\w allied species of grass, Psamma arruaria for 


TTiarrem i^rassj ^rows abunrlantlx- at Hoiirnc- 
nioiith, and wisliiii;.;' to ascertain how far one ot its 
iin(lerL;ioiin(l strins (.-xtcndcd, w ilh sonic amount of 
patience I disinterred about six or seven feet of it 
in a bank on the sea-shore where it was accessible. 
As it seemed to ha\e no end, I could not ascertain 
its entire leni^th. 

Another instance of root growth adaptin^^ itself 
to situations occurs to me. In visitin*^ the 
Cheddar Cliffs in Somer.setshire I was struck b}- 
the beaut}' of a plant which grew here and there 
out of the crevices of the rocks. Its tufts of \i\id 
green leaves looked so health)- and \igorous I 
could not help wondering how it could obtain 
moisture enougli to produce such foliage, placed 
as it was high up on the dry face of a rock. 

Trailing to reach its roots in any other wa}', I 
climbed up to a spot w here I could remove some 
of the horizontal layers of stone. .At last I lifted a 
flat piece of rock just above one of those plants, 
and there I saw at a glance the secret of its 
vigorous growth. 

The roots had spread out over the surface of the 
stone for a distance of eiglit or nine inches in a 


perfectly flat layer of fine fibrous rootlets no 
thicker than a sheet of paper ; these would doubt- 
less suck up abundant moisture whenexcr the rain 
beat upon the rocks, and there, pressed closel)' 
between the two ja\'ers of stone the plant has its 
water-suppl\- stored up, and is enabled to look 
fresh and green when other \e14etation is suffering;" 
from drought. 

In plant-life there is a marvellous variet}' in 
root-structure. Roots differ much, not onl)' in 
form, but in texture and duration of life, so that to 
gain a true knowledge of them we must carefull}' 
examine those of herbs, shrubs, and trees, and 
observation will soon teach us the fact that there 
exists a close correlation between the form and 
texture of the root and the si/.c and character of 
the plant. 'l~he external shape will depend princi- 
pall)- upon whether a tap-root is developed or no. 
Such, for instance, as the carrot and the dock are 
those of the true tap-root character. Of branching 
roots we may find endless modifications amongst 
ordinar}' field or garden flowers from the fibrous 
roots of the little groundsel to the large flesh)- 
tubers of the dahlia. Between these two types 

A'()()y.s 55 

there are others nf an iiitermccliate kiiifl, but it is 
possible to recognise amf)nj^st common plants the 
roots belonj4in<4' to one oi' otlu-r of ihr t)prs 1 
lia\c (lescrilx'd. J-Or tin- purposes of stii(l\- uc 
inav hroadi)' s^ioiip roots into classes accordinL;' to 
their method of collcctin;4 and absorhin;^ food. 
Thus we find one L^roup ^rowinL^ in soil and 
feeding upon the soluble earth salts and moisture 
of the soil. Another grouj) w ill be found growin;^^ 
in water, like the \vater-lil\- and pond weeds. A 
third ^M'oup simply hani^s down in space from 
some perching;' j^lant like the tropical orchid, whilst 
a foiu'th and ver\' small t^roup consists of parasitic 
roots, of which a ver)' common example is the 
mistletoe. We will now stud\' each of these 
groups separatel}'. 

1 have alread)- spoken of some kinds of fibrous 
roots, and ma\' add that if the root of a land plant 
is immersed in water, it will after a time develop a 
different kind of fibre, capable of receixing nourish- 
ment from water instead of earth. I remember 
seeing an instance of this in the case of a laurel 
bush which grew near a well in our garden. We 
had occasion to examine the water, and found that 



the laurel had thrown down its roots below the 
surface, where the}' i^rew luxurianth', finely sub- 
divided, of a delicate ixor)' white, owint;" to the 
absence of lit^ht, and more than a )'ard in length. 
They had adapted themselves to the dut}- of 
absorbing water onl}', but had we replanted them 
in earth the)' would have withered, from their 
unfitness to take up the hygroscopic water of 


which I have already spoken. On the other hand, 
if the seeds of a plant formed to live in the water, 
such, for instance, as the water-lily, are sown in 
ordinary soil, they adapt themselves to the new 
conditions, and are able to live on the hygroscopic 
water they find around the particles of earth. 

Some plants send out a horizontal stem (culm) 
along the ground, with a bud and some roots 



growing out of it at regular inter\als. I^ach of 
these joints ''or nodes i taki's root and forms a 
sejjarate |)lant. W hat are calK-d strawberr)- 
ruiuiers are stems of this kind, and so are the 
creeping stems of rotciililla rcpta)ts. 


I once found a phmt of the latter growing on 
a low wall, and, as I imagine, because it desired 
to reach the ground and root itself there, it had 
thrown down a stem a ward aiul a lialf long with 
eight N'oung plants growing upon it at inter\als 


ready to form so man}- colonies when the\' should 
reach the <:^round. 

One rna\- freciucntly find stems of \arioLis 
jj;"rasses runnint^- alon^' the ground, and talvint;' 
root at each joint. 1 ha\e one such spra}- in m\- 
herbarium, with tweKe \-ouni4' pl^^nts upon it at 
ret^ular interxals. 

Some plants store up nourishment in their roots, 
as may be seen in one of our common seaside 
grasses (Poa bulbosii) ; this soon withers after 
flowering, and becoming uprooted, its bulbs, which 
are like small round cheeses strung together, ma}' 
be seen blowing about in the wind. 

With such a provision as this, the parent plant 
is able to bear extremes of cold and drought. 

It is well for us that plants have this power of 
storing up their ff)od underground, for to it we 
owe such useful tubers as the potato and Jeru- 
salem artichoke. 

One of our native plants, the earth-nut {BiDiium 
flcxHosiiui), has a single round tuber which is eat- 
able when roasted, and is often dug up b)- children. 
Long ago, when l^ngland was liable to famines, 
even this small tuber was valued as a means of 

h'OOTS 5() 

ckin^ out the labourer's dail)- meal. It is worth 
while to exaininc the curious divided tubers of 
soinc itf our common orchises, such as the spotted 
onhis (). iihuitliilii . or the meadow orchis {O. 
iiiorio . Tlu- tiihcr which produces the lea\es and 
llowcrs wiiiu-rs a\\a_\- at tlu- end of the summer, 
hut it lea\cs behind it a second tuber in which is 
stored up the nourishment required tcj enable it to 
bring forth leaves and flowers in the followint^ 

Tubers are in realit}' underground stems which 
ha\e thickened into njunded balls to contain plant 

If we examine a potato we shall see that it con- 
tains true buds in the little hollows on its surface ; 
these are called " e)'es," and each of them if sown 
in the ground will produce a new potato plant. If 
a potato is left in a damp cellar, each of these eyes 
will send out a stem, thus pro\ing that the " e\'e " 
has the nature of a bud. If we cut the potato in 
half we shall see it is of an even substance mainU' 
composed of starch, but if we halve an onion it will 
be found to consist of rings or la\ers of a thick 
flesh)- nature, which pro\es it t(j be a bulb and not 



a tuber. The onion is like a large bud growing 
underground, instead of on a tree branch. We can 
prove how similar the onion and the bud are, by 
searching on a lil\- stem for buds or bulbils, which 


are often produced in the axils of the leaves; if we 
plant such a bud it will throw out fibres and become 
a bulbous-rooted plant. Some of our native grasses 
seem to have a singular power of adapting them- 

ROOTS 6 1 

selves to their position. I'^)r instance, the coinmon 
Tiinoth)- _L,n'ass ritlciiiii pratoisc), which iisualK' 
h'ves b\' means of a fibrous ro(jt, can. if needful, 
produce a bulb which enables it to kee[) liviuL,^ in 
a \er\- dr)- place, but if reinoxed to a wet soil it 
returns to a fi Ijrous root. Other Lirasses ha\c been 
observed to alter their root-t.jrowth in the same way, 
adapting;" themselves to their surroundini^s. 

Air Roots. 

These absorb the water)' \a])our of the air; they 
cannot adajjt themselves to live in earth, but under 
certain conditions they can put forth other kinds of 
roots that are partiall)- adapted for <,rrowing in soil. 

I may here i;i\e some personal observations 
about a certain Hoya plant that came into my 
possession so long ago as 1855. This much- 
enduring plant lived in a hanging basket for many 
N'cars, in the dr\' air of a sitting-room. Its leaves 
were sometimes shrixelled from lack of water, and 
it never had \igour enough to produce flowers. /\t 
last, after enduring this life for twenty years, it was 
placed in a stove-house where the moist heat suited 
its requirements. Then it flowered charmingh', and 


even no\\- is show in^t;" a further dei^ree of enterprise 
by growing h bunch of fibrous roots at the end of 
one of its stems. 1 imagine it intends to plant 
itself into another jjot standing near. I am watch- 
ing it with much curiosity, because if it does this, 
the old plant will j)rove that it has a high degree 
of intelligence, and that although it remained 
tjuiescent for so many years, it was only from lack 
of opportunity t(j do more than cjuietly endure its 

In tropical countries, some plants and trees such 
as MoiLstera and Philodetidroii send down slender 
aerial roots called lianes, man}' hundred feet in 

In the Aeroid House at Kew, I remember seeing 
these lianes coming down from the roof of the 
house in .search of water and earthy nourishment. 
It seemed like actual intelligence that directed 
these n^ots to a tank of water tw"ent)'-five feet 
distant from their starting-point above. Whilst we 
are considering this subject, I ma\- mention the 
curi(jus r(X)t action of a kind of fig-tree growing in 
the trojMcs which is sometimes known by the name 
of the " Murderer." Its seed often falls, or is 

/v'()C)/.S (13 

(Imppfd hy ljir(K, aini)iiL;st the Ica\cs in the head 
ol a |)alm-licc, there it bei^ins to ,Lin>w and forms 
root alter root, ^L;rackially de.scen{h'n<4- the >tein of 
the tree and claspini;^ it so tilihtl)- that at last the 
|)ahn is strani;led and falls to the i^round carrying; 
its destroN'er with it, where it roots and ^ro\\^ into 
a tree. 

I'AkAMlK KnoTs. 

As in human societ\' there are thievish characters 
who li\e I))- preyin^^ upon their nei<^hbours, so in 
\ei^^etable society we find unite a number of different 
l)lanls L^rowiuL; at the expense of others, insertinj^- 
their roots into the stems and ro(^ts of trees instead 
of drawini;- their nourishment from the <^round. 
Careful distinction must be drawn between such 
plants as ivy, virginian creeper, clematis, Hchens, &c., 
which simply i^row and ch'mb on the bark of trees, 
and the true parasites which are nourished b\- the 
juices ot the trees and plaiils into which their roots 

S(jme plants are onlj- partiall\- parasitic, such as 
the cow-wheat {^Melampyrum) and the >ellow rattle 
{Rhinixutlius). These represent a very deceitful 


kind of o-rowth. To all ai:)pearancc the plants are 

gettini^ an honest living, the leaves are perfectly 
green and capable of performing all the duties of 


leax'cs, and yet, if \\c rcin<)\c a little Dftbe soil the 
plant will be found to be allaebed to, and i;r(n\in,L( 
from tbe roots of some strong' ]<iii(l of i^rass, anrl is 
clerivin<^ its nourishment from the f(jocl collected 
by those i^rass roots. 

\'ellow rattle i;rows al)undanll\' in imdrained 
marsh\- fields, where it is easv to obtain the plant, 
so as to exanniK- its mode of L;nw\th. We ma\- tlien 
^u on to a clo\er-ficld and seek for that true para- 
site and most troublesome enenu' to the farmer, 
the elowr-dodder (('//sc7//(/ trifolii ,. Its seeds are 
lre([uentl\' m'xed with the clo\er, and when 
sown they L^erminate on the surface, but the 
little threaddike stem, instead of entering the 
ground, feels about in the air until it reaches a 
young clover-plant. It soon clasps its victim 
with its fast-grow ing stem ; as the clover grows 
the dodder coils around it and is carried away 
from the ground. 

As the w ir)' stem gains strength, it developes a 
.series of suckers that eat into the clo\er stem and 
rob it of the food it has collected ; it li\es, flowers, 
and grows at the other's expense. The rate of 
growth of the dodder exceeds that of the clover, so 


that the latter is both exhausted and choked by its 
snake-Hke enemy. 

I once sowed a patch of flax in a garden, and not 
knowing that it too had a parasitic enem)', I was 
greatly puzzled to find quantities of pinkish threads 
growing out of the flax stems. These threads bore 
round bunches of tin\- flowers. All this was very 
pretty and interesting, but it resulted in m)' patch 
of flax becoming a mass of interlacing threads and 
dying a miserable death, fairly strangled by the 
flax dodder. Another species of Ciiscuta epilinuin, 
grows on furze and also on heather, it having the 
twine-like stems b}- which dodder ma}' readily be 

We are all familiar with the mistletoe, its leathery 
leaves and its white berries. 

This plant grows out of the branches of poplar, 
hawthorn, and apple, and very occasionally upon 
the oak. 

In France and Belgium the custom of bordering 
the fields with single rows of Lombardy poplars 
.seems to fa\our the growth of mistletoe, for its large 
green bunches form quite a feature in the landscape, 
and cannot fail to be observed b}' the traveller as he 

A'OO'/S 67 

journe}'s in the railw ay train. I have been told that 
mistletoe is sufficiently abinulant t(j be used in 
Xorinandy as cattle-food. 

if a mistletoe-berry is gentl}' pressed u|j(in a 
youn;^ branch of an apple-tree, its (jun \iscifl juice 
will cause it to adhere, and before loni,^ it germi- 
nates and sends its roots into the tissues of the tree; 
as it grows, it fuses with them, and deri\es all its 
root nourishment from the substances in the branch. 
Of coiu'se the tree is weakened by this parasite, the 
suckiuL; roots ol' which disturb the flow of the sap; 
woody knots are apt to form, and not unfrequently 
the branch is killed bv' the intruder which has 
fastened upon it. 

Having" touched upon the four princif^al kinds (jf 
njots, we \\ill now take a single root-fibre and 
examine it more close!)'. It seems scarcely possible 
that such a brittle, feeble thread should be able to 
penetrate into the ground and make its way 
amongst stones and sharp-edged fragments of earth 
without being bruised or torn. The chief friction is 
borne by the growing-point, and this alwajs has for 
its protection a ro(jt-cap; the section of the growing- 
point of root-fibre gi\en in the [)late shows the outer 



skin, called the epidermis, and over that is the root- 
cap shaped like a thimble formed of small cells. 
As they are worn away outside and become dead 
tissue, owing to friction with the soil, the cells are 
constantly being renewed from \\ithin. The root 
is thus enabled to grow and perform its part in 
maintaining the life of the plant. The presence of 
this root-cap and the ab.sence of 
leaves are the marks b>- which a true 
root is known and distinguished from 
an underground stem. With a small 
lens one can see this extinguisher-like 
cap protecting the extreme point of 
the root, and it is well to examine a 
sKCTiox OF variety of specimens, and -see how they 
differ slightly in size and shape. 
The one especial office of the root is to absorb 
liquid nourishment from the soil for the benefit of 
the plant, and, as I have already explained, this is 
done mainl)' through the hairs which grow upon 
the fibres of the roots. For instance, there is no 
absorption in old tree-roots, such as we sometimes 
see above the ground, nor in carrots, turnips, and 
parsnips, but thrown out from such bulbous jjlants 


arc the fibres and their hairs which enable them to 
i^row to maturit}'. We nia\- natural I \- inquire how 
the solid materials in the soil, which are needful to 
the L^rowth ot the stem and lca\es, can possibly be 
taken up In' these e.\lremel\- minute hairs. 

We ma}' look U[)on the earth as bein<4" a sort <)f 
store-house of indigestible, unprejjared plant-food 
u hich must be altered in its character before it will 
be fit for absorption b\- the roots. Some .sub.stances, 
such as sui^ar, will readil)' dissohe in water; others, 
such as starch and .sand, are insoluble, but the effect 
of rain-water and atmospheric air passing through 
the soil, converts this insoluble dormant food into 
soluble acti\e food. 

The root-hairs conve)' this food to the small 
fibres, and through them as channels it passes on 
to larger ones, until it reaches the stem and goes to 
\'ce(\ the growing lea\es and flowers. 

In order to reinain in a healthy state, roots must 
absorl) oxygen gas, and for this reason gardeners, 
when the)' find the soil growing caked and hard on 
the surfiice. dig <ind rake the (lower-borders in order 
that air ma\- freel)- permeate the soil and finrl access 
to the roots of the plants. 


Roots appear to be endo\vecl with certain remark- 
able attributes, about which learned books have 
been written of late, giving the result of patient 
investigation as to their power of movement, the 
way in which the}' are affected b}' gravitation, the 
influence of light, and other forces. 

The experiments of Darwin and other scientists 
have revealed very singular facts about the move- 
ments of plants. The term used to describe their 
motion is one we must learn, as it frequently appears 
in botanical works. Circumnutation we may trans- 
late as wavering around, and it well describes the 
curious wa\' in which rootlets, for instance, are 
alwaj's moving slowl)' from one side to the other, 
describing a kind of oval zig-zag track through the 
earth. The fibres appear to ha\e a discriminating 
power, enabling them to choose convenient crevices 
through which to penetrate hard soil, to avoid stone, 
and to seek out any attractive food which lies in 
their wa)'. 

As soon as roots emerge from the seed the}' at 
once turn from the light and seek to bury them- 
selves in the earth; the i)lumule from which the 
leaves will spring has exactl}- the re\'erse tendency. 


aiifl invariably seeks tlie lii^Mit aiul L^^rows upwards. 
This can be proved by ^rowinj^ some mustard seeds 
on a piece of flannel about the size of a shillinj^, 
floating it on water in a saucer exposed to lii^ht 
from a sini^le window; as soon as the lea\es appear, 
the)- will lean towards the liL,dit, whilst the roots 
will point tf)wards the dark part of the room. 
If a "germinating seed is even placed with the 
root up|)ermost, and the plumule [jointing down- 
wards, it will \ery speerlil}' riL;ht itself, the stem 
will turn and i^row up. and the root will seek 
the L^round. 

The amazini^" strenLjth of i^row iiii^" tree roots can 
be imagined when we watch a tree in full leaf 
during a high wind. As the terrific force of the 
gale swa\s the trunk backw ards and forwards the 
roots are subjecterl to an enormous strain. Like 
great india-rubber cables the)' give and retract, and 
when the wind subsides we find the trunk as rigid 
as ever. 

If my readers will seek for the specimens 
enumerated below, and compare them with the 
remarks made in this chapter, thc\' will have such 
a general idea of the functions of roots as will, I 


trust, enable them to eiijo)- the stud}- of more 
advanced works upon the subject. 

Specimens to be obtained and compared with 
the descriptions in this chapter : — Sedge or marrcm 
grass growing on a sand}' sea coast ; plants growing 
between la}'ers of stone ; tree roots at the qcV^q of 
a pond; strawberr}- runners; a |)lant (){ Po/rnfi/Ia 
reptajis ; creeping grasses ; Pan hulbosa roots from 
the seaside ; potato. Earth nuts ; lil}- bulbils ; 
Timothy grass ; co\\-\\\\&ciX{Me/n!iipyi'niii) ; }-el low- 
rattle {Rhiuatithiis) ; clo\'er dodder CO/ jrr//^^ trifolii) ; 
flax dodder {Cuscuta cpiliiniui) ; mistletoe. Root 
fibres of various plants. Mustard seed sown on 

CHAriKR 111 


If ihou art \\nrn ami hard lieset 

With s;)rrov\s. tlial tliou wDuIdst forget, 

If thou wouliKl rcail a It-sson, that will keep 

Thy heart from fiiinting and th)' soul from sleep, 

(io to the woods and hills ! No tears 

Dim ihe sweel look thai Nature wears." 





WALK tlii'oui^h a wdocI on a bright 
fla)' in February w ill afford us man\- 
interestinf^ intuitions about the i^rowth 

We are apt to think of winter as a 
(lead season, and lonL:^ for summer da}'s once 
more, that we ma}- pursue our bcjtanical studies ; 
but as soon as l-'ebruary beL;ins there is alread\' a 
secret work s^oin<^ on within the tree-stems, the sap 
is ri.sin<T from the roots, and this ascent is easily to 
be traced if we look carefully at the trunks of those 
trees, such as the oak, elm, and others, w hich have 
ruf^ged bark. The wood within is swellinej ; fresh 
la\-ers of material will, a little later on, be added to 
the inner side of the bark as a result of this ascent 
of the sajx 



As the bark is hard and inelastic, it cannot 
expand in proportion, and therefore has to crack 
and spht in )'ielding to the internal pressure. If 
we look for these fresh cracks, we shall see the 

. h'Wti 

fit 3: t^' 

, A ^ !» 



clean new bark within, which, before long, \\ill 
harden and become of the same shade of gre)' as 
the rest of the stem. 

It is at this season, too, that the plane-tree sheds 
off its fragments of bark in greatest quantity, as 



one nia\- plaiiil}- sec in the Ijjndon s(juares, where 
this tree l;i'<)\\s so remarkabh' well. Its stem is 
always pcelini;' more or less throUL^hout the \ear, 
and possibl)- that fact ma\- be one of the reasons 


of its flourishing so well in the midst of smoke 
and foi;". 

Trees shed their bark in man\- different wa\-s. 

A reference to the illustrations will show the 
concentric rinses of the horse-chestnut, the scjuare 



pieces of the sycamore, which are due to the cleav- 
age being both vertical and horizontal, the hexa- 
gonal shape of the divisions of the Scotch fir, the 
rugged bark of the Turkey oak, the sycamore and 
other species. 


Where a woodi^ccker or a nuthatch has bored 
a hole into the li\ing wood oC a tree-stem, it is 
interesting to watch how the injury is repaired. 
New bark begins to form at the edges of the 
wound, and to this a la}-er is added each year, until 

y/v'A/v SJJ-MS 


at last the hole is filled up, and onl)- a scar is left 
to show where it once existed. 

1 have been able to watch this repairini; ]>r(jcess 
• foiuL; on for tucKe j'ears in the case of a Turkey 

Tl K'KKV OAK STKM (stlink hv lii^lllllillji^). 

oak, which was injured b\- liL,ditninL;'. I was watch- 
inL,f the [)rogress of the storm from one of our 
ujjper windows, and happened to be lookini^ at 
this j)articular tree in the park, when out of a lurid 
clcjud above it, a streak of forked lightnin<^ 



descended upon the tree, and rent off the bark of 
one side from the top to the bottom, carrj'ing" away 
portions of it to a distance of fifty feet or more, 
leavintj a white i^ash which looked pitiful enouj^h 


fcjr many months. Year b\^ year a wave of new 
bark rolls on, coveriiiL;' the bare place by slow 
degrees, but it is never destined t() be cjuite healed 
in this case, for the inner wood was killed to some 
extent bv the li'jhtniii!''. so it has become a home 



for thc^ horinL,^ hectics, who arc rifhlHiiL;' it with 
liolcs wherein to lay their e^^s. 

Such a tree becomes a haj)p)' huntiiiL^ L(rouiul 
tor the \\()o(l|)ecker, who is attracted b\- the insect 

lliiK'^l I III >l \l I I. \KK 

diet he finds there. Ihe lar<^"c holes he makes in 
gettinL;- at his pre)- will let in the rain, so that after 
a time the moist rotten wood forms a suitable 
place for \arious fungoid growths, and allj these 
agencies work together for the destruction of tlie 



wood until the tree becomes a hollow stem, and the 
leafage above is solely produced by the sap carried 
upward by the bark. 

Let us inquire a little more carefully into the 


formation of a tree-stem, and the different parts of 
which it consists. Some rather hard names are 
given to the four princijDal parts of a tree trunk 
but, by reference to the plate, and by knowing the 
meaning of the names, I hope they will soon be 

TRl-.F. SI I- MS 


mastered, and llicii our fiitiirr walks in the woods 
will he fuller ot' iiitert'st than e\er, w hc-n once wc 
understand somethinL;- aljout the hidden work that 
is bcin<^ carried on in those -jrand old trunks 

■^YeAMoNl-; liAK'K. 

around us. .\ tree nia\' be coni|)ared to a lari^c 
manufactor)-. As we stand outside the buildini;" 
we see the brick walls and the roof, and smoke is 
coming;- out of the chimne\s. We know that a 
Ljrcat deal of work is beintr done inside, and carts 



are leavini^ its doors laden with the products of the 
machiner}' within, but how the work is done we 
cannot tell from the outside. We ])erhaps desire 
to obtain this knowledge, and under the guidance 
of the manager, we are taken from room to room 

■iki';i':-M;KX i;akk. 
and see the marvellous processes b\- which raw 
material is converted into exquisite fabrics, or it 
may be cla)- is turned into priceless china or 
porcelain. We leave the building full of wonder 
at the things we have seen, and those particular 


maiiiifac tiirc's will ever aftL-rwards be iiucsted with 
a s|)ccial interest for lis, because we ha\e seen 
with our own e)'es how the\' are producefl. 

Just in the same way we shall look upon trees 
in a new l'i;ht. if we are able in some measure to 
follow the processL's nature is carr)'ing on in them 
year 1)\' year so as to ensure the foliage, flower, and 
fruit, w hich minister so much to our pleasure and 

The four names we must learn about in order to 
understand the formation of wood are these. I'^rst 
the outer bark, called ei)idermis, from two Greek 
words i'pi upon, and (icrnia the skin. Cortex, a 
Latin word meaning bark. I'^ibro-xascular bundles; 
this long phrase refers to certain threads or fibres 
which exist in stems and gi\e them toughness and 
elasticit)'. i''rom such fibres in the fla.v ])lant we 
obtain linen, .md (I'lm ihe hem|) fibres ropes are 
made, hibro c<jmes from the Latin yV7'/v^ a thread 
or fibre ; and vasciiliim is Latin for a little \es.sel ; 
we know the word better, perhaps, in another 
sense as vascnliiin, the tin box in which botanists 
place their plant collections. 

These thread-like vessels are well called bundles. 


because they exist in little masses in the substance 
of the stem. 

Most )-oung people know what is called K'lni; 
Charles's Oak in the stem of the brake fern, 
so plainly seen when it is cut across with a 
penknife. The dark markings are the ends of the 
fibro-vascular bundles which happen to resemble 
an oak tree in form, though s(jme think them more 
like an eagle with outstretched wings, so the fern 
is named /Vc/v'.v aqiiiliua, frcjm (xqiiila, an eagle. 

The fcjurth word is pith, the white substance in 
the centre of the stem, which can readily be seen 
by di\iding a piece of elder branch, when the 
middle will be found full of white pith. 

When we have these four parts of the stem 
clearly in our minds it will be possible to go on 
^\•ith our study and learn about the spaces between, 
which are filled with different kinds of cells. 

The honey-comb formed b}- bees consists of 
small cells, little hollow spaces in which they store 
the hone}' or bee-food. Wood}' structure consists 
largely of cells of various shapes to contain sap 
and other substances. A beautiful specimen of 
cell net-work may be obtained b}' placing a thin 

Th'F.E Sli:.\lS S7 

slice ot cilliL-r while or \clli)W w ,ilcr-lil\" slciii on a 
]jiecc of i^lass and, holding; it up to the li;^lu, a fine 
sort of lacc-work will he seen. rhcsc arc the culls 
which con\c\' air and water throiiL;h the stem up 
to the lea\e^ and llowers. Or if we examine a 
flower petal w ith a ma,L;nif\-in,L; i^lass we shall find 
it to he entirel)' composed of minute cells. 

In these little spaces are stored \er\- man\- 


WATKl'i-I.II.Y. WATKk-l.n.V. 

and very different materials, all necessar\- to the 
L^rowth of a tree ; we shall tr\- and learn ahout 
them by dei^rces ; at i)resenl we must endeaxour 
t(; obtain a clear idea (»f their structure. 

A tree-stem increases in size \-earl}- h\- the 
i^rowth of fresh cells within the outer hark, and 
this actixe increase of tissue is due mainlv to what 
is called the cambium layer, which is developed 
only in the sprini^ and siuiimer and does not exist 


in winter ; it forms bast, or phloem, on the outer 
side next the bark, and on the inner side next the 
pith it creates woody tissue. 

Our Enghsh h'me tree has a layer of fibre be- 
neath the bark which is worth examination ; it 
is the same in character, but not so wide or strong, 
as the bast which we import from Russia in mats 
to protect \egetation from frosts. Squirrels are 
very fond of this soft material ; the\' strip it 
cleverh^ off the branches of our lime trees to form 
a warm lining for their nests. 

It IS easily found by cutting the outer bark off 
any small branch of lime within reach, when we 
can peel off the inner layer of bast, or phloem, as 
botanists call it. 

The phloem from the lace-bark tree of the West 
Indies is like the finest possible net-work, and is 
used for many ornamental purposes. Liber (Latin 
for the inner rind of a tree; is another term applied 
to this cell formation. 

The study of different forms of woody fibre will 
be found most interesting. 

I obtained one of my best specimens of it by 
placing a very old Swedish turnip in water for 


snmc months until llu- soil pails h.ul mulled away 
and oiil\' ihc round ball of fibre remained. If any 
OIK- wishes lo follow my example I nould suL,''^est 
placini; the turnip and its p;in of waler in some 
outhouse where its perfume will not incommode 
an\' (jiie. A maid came to me one da\- with a sad 
account of a fearful smell which had been noticed 
for some time in a lumber-room at the top of the 
house, and \er\- naturall\- she thoui;ht that the 
plumber should be called in to remed\' the e\il. I 
had almost fori^otten my interesting;" skelet(^n, but 
in due time I traced the odour to its rii^ht cause, 
and the turni|) was banished to a distant s[)ot, 
where many \\ashin^fs and scjme soakiiiL^ in 
chloride of lime chani^ed it into a real h' beautiful 
sj)ecimen of wood)' fibre. I jxjssess now onl\' a 
ijuarter of it, for botanists have scj earnestl\- 
beL;L;ed fir pieces of it that I ha\e been |)er- 
suaded to share it with them. 

I ]ia\e sometimes picked up on the seashore old 
cabbage-stems bleached to a delicate i\or\- white, 
forming reall\' beautiful instances of wood}' fibre. 
These we can prepare for oursehes, if desired, b\' 
soakiiii; the stems in water until they can be 


brushed perfectly clean, and then bleached by 
niixini;" a little chloride of lime in water and 
lettini^" them soak in it till tliey are white and 
free from odour. 

In a manufactory there must of necessity be a 
series of windows on the different floors, not only 
to let in lii;ht but for purposes of ventilation. 
Now, the processes of tree-growth are carried on 
without light in the stem, but air is necessary, and 
it is supplied by means of small apertures called 
lenticels. These are not open holes, but are more 
like gratings which admit a small amount of air 
through loosely-packed cells. 

These lenticels are the small brown specks 
which ma)' be traced in great numbers on the 
young branches of almost any tree. The}' remain 
open through the spring and summer, admitting 
the needful air to the interior of the bark, but 
when the tree-growth is over for the season, and 
air is no longer needed, a layer of cork forms 
within the lenticel which entirely shuts it up and 
keeps out the wintr)- cold. Thus it remains sealed 
up till, by the growth of the cambium layer in the 
following s[)ring, the corky barrier is split open 
and air is a<rain admitted. 


These leiUici-ls are iiaUire's \eiUilat(jrs, opening 
and shuttiiii^ in this curious way in order that the 
manufacture which is c^oini;" on beneath the bark 
may receive from the outer air the \aric)us <^ases 
essential to llie work which is beini; carried on 

I ha\e said that many and various thin<^s arc 
stored in the stem-cells of trees. It would occupy 
too much space to attempt to make an\'thin<4 like 
a complete list of the lic|ui(ls and solids which are 
obtained from trees, but 1 w ill enumerate a few of 
those with which we are familiar from their use- 
fulness in e\er)'-da\- life. 

Turpentine is obtained from \arious kinds of 
firs — the Scotch fir. larch, and others. Ikirgund}' 
pitch from the spruce fir. A kind of tar is also 
|)repared from .Scotch fir and larch, h'rom \arious 
kinds of cinchona we (obtain (juinine, so \alu,ible 
as a remed)' lor le\er. Camphor is a product of a 
Chinese tree. Tannin, b)' which skins are con- 
verted into leather, is obtained from the bark of 
.the oak-tree. A kind of sugar is made from the 
sap of the maple, which is largeh' used in America. 
Gum arable and a urt-at number of irums used in 


medicine are produced b}- foreign trees of ^'arious 
kinds. The interior pith of a West Indian palm 
tree produces the sago of commerce. 

Stems, hke every other part of a plant, are to be 
seen in endless \"ariety ^\"he^ ue come to examine 
them for ourselves. In common garden plants 
such as the calceolaria and petunia, the consistence 
is soft, and such stems are known as herbaceous; 
these generally die down in autumn. Roses and 
rhododendrons have stems of a harder and more 
rigid character, and seem to be intermediate be- 
tween the soft herbaceous stems and tall tree trunks. 

If in some country ramble we resolve to make 
the trunks and bark of trees our study, we shall 
find much that is interesting and well worthy of 
obser\ ation.' 

The Lombard}' poplar, w ith its tall bending stem, 
the graceful willow and the siher birch, contrast 
strongi)- with the thick and sturd\' trunks of the 
elm and oak. E\en these two differ, the wocnl of 

' Fur inslanje, I have nuliccd sonic curiuu.s cxamplt.s of trees 
growing together. .V Turl^e)' oak and Silver fir in my own grounds 
arc closely united at the Imse. llie fir-seed and the acorn must 
have germinated in such close proximity that the stems have almost 
grown into each other. The group of beeches shown in the plate 
gives another example of interlacing stems and roots. 

TRi:i: STEMS «;3 

the elm heiiiL; short and brittle, whilst that of the 

oak is hard and flexible. .\L;aiii, we may note the 
slender drawn-up stems of trees growing thiekly 


ar.iMPSEs IX TO i' last life 

together in a wood, wlicrc light anrl air arc in a 
measure shut out, and compare them with other 
specimens standing in a park in free air and hght. 
There we see trees, growing as nature intended, with 
grand sturch' trunks and well- 
dcxeloped branches spreading out 
on all sides. Lastly, in this chap- 
ter, we may note the climbing 
stems ; these are especially nu- 
merous and diversified in their 
manner of growth. Almost every 
part is modified and adapted to 
assist the stem to climb. The 
common iv)- develops upon the 
surface of its stem numerous 
rootlets, and by their clasping 
nature the ivy is enabled to 
ascend the smoothest tree-trunk. 
The hop and the con\-ol\ulus 
climb by means of their habit of twining around 
some rigid stem or twig. Then the peas and 
vetches .send out little clasping tendrils in the 
place of leaflets, whilst that lovely ornament of 
the hedges — traveller's joy — climbs by occasionally 



iisiii*^ the le.'if st.'ilk for n claspin*;" holdfast. Not 
less interesting^ are the phints that ch'mb b}- means 
of their hooks ; the common bramble is of this 
kind; it scrambles o\er the hed^e in a \er)- en- 
ter|)risinL,^ and a_i^<.^ressive manner, while its spines 
and hooks effectually j)re\ent it from slippinc;" back. 

A \er\' hi_L^dil\- dexeloped origan of climbin<i^ 
is that to be found upon the stems of the 
small \'ir<^inian creeper . .liiipe/ops's Vcitcliii). 
On the points of its small tendrils we shall dis- 
cover little globular, crimson-coloured pads, which, 
when pressed against a tree or wall, secrete 
a kind of vegetable glue. This fixes the 
tendril and enables the weak slender stem to 
climb upwards. In these instances, as well as 
others mentioned earlier in the chapter, we 
have again evidences of how wonderfull)' plants 
are adapted to their wants and environment. 

Things to obserxe and collect: — The \arious 
ways in which trees shed their bark ; how trees 
repair holes in the stem ; fibres in fla.x stem 
and in hemp ; specimens easil\- obtained b\- 
sowing lin.seed and hemp-.seed ; .section of brake- 
fern stem ; section of elder stem ; thin section of 


white or )'ellow \vatcr-lil\^ stem ; flower petal ; 
piece of bast matting; West Indian lace-bark; 
turnip and cabbage stalk prepared as specimens of 
woody fibre ; lenticels on various trees ; suitable 
leav'es for skeletonising — holly, magnolia, tulip- 
tree, pear, poplar, aspen, mahonia, plum and 
maple; suitable capsules — poppy, stramonium, 
henbane, winter-cherr)\ campanula, and the calyces 
of the yellow-rattle. 

(■H.\pri:R IV 


" These naked shoots 
Barren as lances, among which the wind 
Makes wintry music, sighing as it goes, 
Shall put their graceful foliage on again. 
And more aspiring, and with ampler spread. 
Shall boast new charms, and more than they have lost. 
Then each, in its peculiar honours clad. 
Shall publish even to the distant eye. 
Its family and tribe." Cowper. 




'1'^ hax'e learned in the pre\'ious chajj- 
tcrs that the roots are the means by 
hich a ])hint t^^athers out of the earth 
hr \ari()us constituents which are need- 
Lo maintain its h'fe. 
The Iea\es ha\e also to do their part in collect- 
ing from the air such gases as are required to 
effect the processes carried on within the substance 
of the leaf. 

The leaf is really the digestive (jrgan of the 
l)lant ; it feeds, breathes, and gives off in the form 
of vap(jur an\' excess of water not required for its 
work, ^^)r these purposes sunlight and air are 

A leaf consists of a stalk, called a petiole, and 
the flat green part, which we may call the blade. 


If we hold a leaf up to the light we see a 
network of veins, and it is by their help the leaf 
becomes a broad expansion of tissue, so exposed 
that it gets the fullest possible benefit from the 
sunlight and air. This fibrous 
network gives strength to the 
leaf, and answers to the bones 
in animal structure. 

The fibro-vascular bundles, 
which we see in the stem, go 
up through the petiole, and 
branch f)ut in a beautiful and 
regular manner. We may ob- 
serve this arrangement very 
clearly in a skeleton leaf, the 
mid-rib forming a backbone to 
the whole structure, while the 
smaller veins tend off to the 
edge of the leaf, and then 
overlap so as to form a 
system of girders supporting the edge, and pre- 
venting the wind from tearing the delicate tissues 
into shreds. 

The arraneement of leaf network is called 



\'cn.ition, and b\- a j^laiicc at it \vc can at once 
sec to which of the great di\i.sions in botan>- a 
plant belongs. If the fibres are straight and run 
parallel to each other without being netted, then 
we know the leaf is that of a plant which begins 
its life with onl\- one seed-leaf; such 
are all the species of corn and grass, 
bulbs, palin-trees, bananas, and others. 

The long name applied to this 
dix'ision of plants must be ex- 
plained, as it is a term we cannot 
do without, and I must own it looks 
formidable until we understand its 

The first leaf that comes out of a 
.seed is called a cot\'ledon, from 
koti'ilc, a cavit)', or cup. The Greek 
for one is nuhios, so plants with one 
.seed-leaf are called monocotyledons. 

If we sow a date-stone or a few seeds of Indian 
corn in moist soil the\- will grow readih', and 
afford us lu'ce little specimens of a one-seed leaf- 

If we see that a leaf has netted veins, then we 



know its seed produced two leaves at first/ so 
plants belonging to this great division are called 
called dicotyledons. 


In order to watch the growth of two-leaved 
seedlings, we may select a broad bean, or some 
' The Maranta and a few other plants are exceptions to this rule. 



of the seeds out of taiiiariiul jam ; either will 
L^row rcariil}- in a i)ot of earth, if it is placed in 
a sunn\' window, or near a stove, and kept moist. 

Orange and lemon pips ma)' sometimes be 
found sprouting; within the fru'it, and either of 
these seeds will i^erminate, and form charming 
little evergreen plants to brighten a town w indow- 

Now we need not be afraid of those two long 
words which are used to de- 
scribe one-leaved and two- 
leaved seedlings, since we 
know their meaning, and it 
will be interesting when we 
come across some new plant 
to see to which division it 
belongs, because knowing that will mean know ing 
a great deal besides. 

All our h'nglish trees (with the exception of the 
firs, which ha\e man)- seed-leaves) are (licot)-le- 
dons ; the)' increase their stems from the outside, 
and are therefore called exogens, and most of our 
plants belong to this division. 

The monocotyledons increase from the centre, 



that is to sa)-, the second leaf Ljrows out of the 
first, and the third leaf and its stem ^row out of 
the sheath of the second leaf, and so on ; and this 
is the law of their growth, whether the)' be corn 
plants or palm-trees. These sheathing leaves and 
the straight veins \\ill always enable us to recog- 
nise a one-seed leaf-plant at sight. 

The development of the stem has a marked 
influence upon the arrangement of the leaves ; 
these, in such plants as the cyclamen, sundew, or 
primrose, are said to be radical ; that is, growing 
from the root. Close observation \\ill reveal the 
cause to be the non-development of the internode.s, 
the leaves being crowded upon a very short, sup- 
pressed stem, and thus we get the beautiful little 
rosettes we find in the dais}' and plantain. When 
the stem is of greater length the lea\'es are ranged 
at definite intervals, the spaces between the leaves 
(the internodes) var)-ing in length in j^roportion to 
the size of the leaf. Small leaves are thus much 
thicker upon the tree than larger ones. This will 
readily be seen if we compare a branch of syca- 
more with one of elm, the former ha\'ing its large 
leaves much further apart than the latter. 


Then, also, the arrangement of leaves upon the 
stem {pliyllotaxis) varies much. If we take a spraj' 
of beech uc shall find that its buds are jjlaced 
alternately on either side of the stem, so that the 
third l)ud is exact!)' IjcIow the first, and the second 
bud is in a line w ith the fourth, and so on. This 
is also the plan of the elm, hazel, lime, hf)rnbeam, 
and man)' other trees. In the alder and white- 
beam the buds occur in three rows, and in some of 
the willows in .series of eii^^ht. 

The leaves of the horse-chestnut arc borne in 
pairs on alternate sides of the stem, and this j^lan 
is common to a number of plants, especiall)' those 
of the type of the dead nettle and speedwell. 

OuJte a distinct arrangement is that to be found 
in the woodruff and bedstraws, where the lea\es 
are placed in a ring (a whorl) at regular intervals on 
the stem. 

The botanical student should carefull)- observe 
the differing methods of leaf arrangement, since, 
as branches are developed from buds, the var)'ing 
order in their jjosition must naturall)- modif)' the 
general aspect of a tree, and has also much 
physiological imi)ortancc. W'c shall find that 


buds are so placed that each leaf shall receive 
its full share of sunH<^ht and air, for it needs this 
position in order to enable it to carr)- out the 
wonderful work of assimilation which it has to 

The upper surface of a leaf is covered b)- a thin 
layer of cells, known as the epidermis (or skin) ; 
this does not prevent the light from falling 
through, and its outer surface is protected by a 
thickening, known as the cuticle. This is of great 
use in controlling the escape of moisture, other- 
wise the leaf would soon shrivel up in a hot sun. 
In a young seedling leaf the cuticle is not de- 
veloped, and it can therefore breathe out moisture 
very rapidly ; later on, when the cuticle is formed, 
it controls the escape of moisture, which can then 
only exude through the under surface of the leaf. 

We can easily peel off a portion of the skin 
from the under surface of the leaf, and if we place 
it in a little water between two pieces of glass 
and look at it in a microscope we shall see that 
it consists of an extremely thin la}'er of cells, 
with numbers of little openings called stomata 
(from the Greek stoma, a mouth), answering 



somewhat to the Icnticcls to be found in )-oung 
tree-stems, onl)' those are s(jlel)' for tlie admission 
of air, while these h'ttle mouths are to let in and 
out not onl\' air, hut water, xapour, and ox)-f^en. 

These stomata look like little crescent-sliai)ed 
slits with a curved cell on either side, and as 
they ciu'xe more or less, the mouths are opened 
or shut as the plant may require. These little 
mouths play a very important 
part in the economy of the leaf, 
and they exist in immense quan- 
tities on its under surface. 

It has been calculated that a 
million stomata exist on a single 
leaf of the lime tree. When the 
root has taken up more moisture than is required, 
then it is the office of these pores, or stomata, in 
the leaf to c,nve out this extra water in the form 
of vapour, and we can thus see how the action of 
leaves must influence climate. If forests are reck- 
lessly cut down, the bare countr}-, with no foliage 
to throw moisture into the air, ma)' become an 
almost barren de.sert, and again in marshy places, 
where the air is too damp, a wise reduction in the 



number of trees may alter the climate to a healthy 

Remarkable results have been obtained b)' plant- 
ing the Australian gum-tree, Eucalyptus globnlus ; 
it thrives well in malarious places, and at once 
produces a marked h}'gienic change in the air. A 
Monsieur Gimbert relates that " A farm some 
twent}' miles from Algiers was noted for its pesti- 
lential air, and in the spring of 1867, 13,000 
eucalyptus trees were planted there, since which 
time not a single case of fever has occurred. 

"The gum-tree grows rapidly and absorbs as 
much as ten times its weight of water from the 
soil, and emits camphoraceous antiseptic vapour 
from its leaves. It is therefore often called the 
fever-destroying tree." 

Experiments have been made to tr}^ and find 
out how much moisture is really given out by 
leaves. It was found that a sunflower three and a 
half feet high, with a leaf expanse of over five 
thousand inches, exhaled one pint of liquid in the 
course of the da}-. 

No wonder, therefore, that trees tend to make 
the air damp. 

LEAVES io<> 

Each stomate leads into air spaces between the 
cells, and is thus connected with the interior of the 

The tissue and cells of a leaf (bifacial j' can be 
understood by reference to the accompanying^ dia- 
frram. Between the upper and under surfaces (jf 
a leaf there is a la\cr, more i)r less thick, of soft 


green tissue known as iiiesophyll, and if we hold a 
leaf to the sunlight we shall see the veins travers- 
ing this tissue. 

The upper part of the mesoph}'ll consists ol 
elongated cells arranged at right angles to the 

' Thai is, a leaf like the l)cech ur sycamore, havinjj an upper and 
under surface ; vertical leaves, like the iris, have palisade tissue on 
both sides. 


surface, and placed so evenly parallel to each other 
that they have been compared to the pales of a 
fence, and are called palisade tissue. These cells 
contain a quantity of the green substance called 
chlorophyllon (from chloros, green, and phyllon, a 
leaf), so named because to this bright green sub- 
stance we owe all the lovely verdure of our woods 
and gardens. 

Below this palisade tissue is another of quite a 
different form, consisting of large spongy cells, and 
therefore known as spongy tissue. 

In its intercellular spaces are stored those 
secretions which make certain herbs, such as 
thyme, marjoram, and others so fragrant when 

The chemical changes which are ever going on 
in these various layers, require a constant supply 
of the outer air, and this is secured by the little 
openings, called stomata, on the under surface of 
the leaf, which have been already described ; these 
constitute the breathing apparatus of the leaf, for 
they open and shut, and regulate the supply of 
air into little air chambers, from which it passes 
into the structure (^i the plant. 


Before goiii<^ any further I must try and explain 
a little about the uoiulerful substance called pro- 
toplasm. ^ 

If we have ever watched a potter at work, we 
know he takes a lump (jf clay and moulds it 
accordint^ to his purpose, into a rough pot, or a 
lovely vase ; now protoplasm seems to be just 
such a foundation material from which the Divine 
Creator causes animal and vegetable forms to pro- 
ceed. J'irsl material seems to me tcj be a term 
that actual 1\' the meaning of the word 

It lines the cell walls of leaves, it is capable of 
forming fresh cells, it can absorb moisture and 
other matters, it contracts and expands, it has 
power of movement, as one ma\- readily see when 
a portion of a leaf is jjlaced in a microscope, so as 
to show the grains of bright green chloroph\ll 
circulating in the lining of each little cell. 

Learned \olumes would be needed to explain 
the nature of protoplasm, so I must be content 
with these simple facts about its nature, and pro- 
ceed to the chemical action going on in leaves. 

' Cireek : prolo, " tirst ' ; plasma, " anything moulded." 


In ordinary atmosphere there is a very small 
quantity of a gas called carbon-dioxide.^ The 
leaves absorb this gas from the air, and because 
there is so little of it, each tree needs to spread out 
an immense amount of foliage, that it may drink 
in, by its means, all the carbon-dioxide that can 
possibly be obtained. 

When this gas comes in contact with the 
chlorophyll in a leaf, one part of the oxygen is set 
free, and returns to the air in a pure condition, 
thus making it more healthy for us to breathe ; 
then the carbon and the remaining oxygen com- 
bine with water in the leaf cells, and form starch, 
the leaves retain the carbon, to build up their own 
structure ; it enters indeed so largely into the 
composition of vegetable substance, that in some 
cases if we could burn one hundred parts of it, fifty 
parts of the ashes would prove to be carbon or 

In a rough sort of way we may see for ourselves 
how much carbon there is in woody fibre, b)- light- 
ing an (ordinary wooden match and letting it burn 

' Carbon nieiining cliarcual, and iliuxidc uicaninL; two ]xirls 
oxygen. Somelimes called carbonic-acid gas. 


itself out ; the black jiortion that remains will be a 
piece of charcoal not \er\' much smaller than the 
ori<;inal match. 

Of course, in the [process of burnin;^, the match 
has lost the resin, and other or^^anic substances 
which were stored up in the cells of the wood ; all 
these ha\e passed into the air, and onl\- the carbon 
remains. If, houexer, instead of tiiis slow manner 
of combustion, we had set light to a whole box 
of matches so that it burnt fiercely, the flame 
would have been strong enough to consume the 
charcoal, and nothing would then be left but 
mineral ashes. 

When charcoal burners are at work in a forest, 
we may see them making a stack of wood, which 
they cover with a thick la)'er of clay so that the 
wood may burn away ver\- slowly ; in this case 
the charcoal w ill be left in the same way as when 
we burnt the single match. 

As long as the upper side of leaves are .soaking 
in the sunlight, starch is being formed, as I have 
described ; but during the night the starch thus 
formed is dissolved, and passing through the leaf 
fibres finds its wa}- into every part of the plant, 


either to be used in forming new tissue, or else 
to be stored up for future use. 

The net-work of veins act as a service of tiny- 
pipes, to conve)' the hquids up and down the 
petiole (leaf-stalk). 

General 1)^ the water given off from the stomata 
is in the form of vapour ; but in some plants 
drops of water exude from the apex or point of the 
leaf through the water pores. In Saxifraga crits- 
tata, there are pores round the edges of the 
leaves, through which water, highl}' charged with 
lime and other salts, passes out, and as it evapo- 
rates a white deposit of lime remains which is quite 
visible in the form of a frosted edging to the 

There is an American plant called the jewel- 
weed, which .shows to perfection this power of dis- 
tilling drops of water. I will quote a short des- 
cription of its appearance at night-fall. 

"Upon the approach of twilight, each leaf droops 
as if wilted, and from the notches along the edge, 
the crystal beads begin to grow until its border is 
hung full with its gems. It is Aladdin's lantern 
that you see among a bed of these succulent pale 


^rccn plants, for the spectacle is like rlream- 
laiul." ' 

A vcr>' similar effect may be observed if we 
\'isit a plant of Lady's-mantle './A/r//////^? 7'N/gans) 
at early mornint^ after a warm dew less ni^ht ; each 
leaf will be found beautifulK- decked with dew- 
drops at equal distances round the ed<je of the 
leaves where the pores have exuded the moisture 
with which the>' are charged. 

Nasturtium and fuchsia ma}- alsf) be examined 
for this purpose and will show exudation from 
their leaf pores. 

If a small quantit}' of wheat is grown in some 
cocoa fibre, it will illustrate this power of giving 
off water, for when the little blades arc a few- 
inches high, the)- will be found each morning 
tipped with a large dewdrop, the result of exuda- 
tion during the night. 

In countries where the sun is intense!}' hot, if 
the lea\es of trees were to be exposed to its full 
power, the}- would probabl}- w ithcr, and vegetation 
would perish. 

Against this danger some trees are enabled to 

' " Sliaip Kycs," hy W'm. I himiltDn Gibson. 



make special provision, by changing the form of 
their leaves, and their mode of hanging on the 
branch. In x'\ustralia, for instance, where the sun 
is almost vertical, the acacias and eucalyptus trees, 


instead of holding their leaves flat or horizontally 
as trees do in England, so that they may catch 
every ray of sunlight, avoid the heat as much as 
possible, by holding them edgeways to the light. 

MAT! K1-. 1(IK.\1 1)1 KIXAI.VI'TIS l.KAVKS. 


While eucalyptus trees are young, and partially 
shaded by surrounding vegetation, their leaves are 
flat and oval, and English seedlings of this tree 
usually retain such leaves from five to ten years, 
our climate not being hot enough to require the 
mature form of leaf which hangs vertically, and is 
of an entirely different form. 

Reference to the plates will show a young shoot 
of Eucalyptus globulus and a branch of the older 
leaves, with their edges only exposed to sunlight. 

The curved sickle-shaped leaves of the eucalyp- 
tus afford very little shade to the traveller in 
Australia for this reason, that only fine inter- 
crossing lines of shadow are seen on the ground. 
To make this clear, let my readers take a sheet 
of notepaper out of doors on a sunny day and 
hold it perfectly flat, so as to expose it to all the 
sunlight it can receive upon its surface, as if it 
were a growing beech-leaf, and it will throw a 
large shadow on the ground. Then hold it edge- 
ways to the sun, and it will form the kind of thin 
line of shadow that would be cast by a mature 
eucalyptus leaf. 

Preparation for the fall of the leaf begins in 

I.I:. I IKS 119 

sprinjj^, when a fine line ov lid^c may be traced 
just below the junction of the leaf with the stem. 
This (lark line is in realitv a thin la)-er of cork, 
which, (luiini; the summer months, continues to 
^row inwards t(^ torm in due time a co\erin<^ 
for the bare place on the stem that will be left 
when the leaf falls off; this is called the leaf- 

It is interestiiiL;' to watch this line, i;"rowin^ m<jre 
and more \isible as the year ^(jcs on. 

Another curious fact is, that some of the starch 
which the lea\es have been makinj; durin^i^ the 
summer, becomes stored uj:) in autumn at the base 
of the leaf-stalk, so as to afford nourishment to the 
bud which will arise out (jf the axil of the leaf. 
\\ hen a weak solution of iodine is appHed to it, 
this starch turns blue, and in this way its presence 
can be ascertained. 

The fall of the leaf a{)}jears to take place mainl\' 
because the starch lias the effect of softening; the 
cells of the leaf-stalk ; as it dries up it loses its 
hold of the twi^, and either the wind or a sliLjht 
frost will suffice to brin^" the leaves dcjwn U) the 
ground in showers. 


Another reason for their fall is, that their year's 
work is done. Like good servants, they have been 
hard at work all through the summer and autumn 
months, taking in stores of nourishment for the 
benefit of the tree, and giving out volumes of 
oxygen, so helpful for the maintenance of human 
life. They have secured and laid up sufficient 
nutriment for the development of the next year's 
buds, and having done this, their special office 
being at an end, they fall beneath the tree to 
become leaf-mould, which, in its turn when fully 
decayed, will yield nourishing elements to be 
carried by the winter and sprhig rains to the tree 

I might add man)' more useful objects which 
we owe to trees, and I commend it to my young 
readers as an instructive study to try and make 
out a complete list of the useful products of our 
English trees. I imagine we do not }-et know 
all that might be obtained from them, new dis- 
coveries continue to re\eal their \aluc in the way 
of medicines ; for instance, the crystals of the 
willow (called salicine) are now frequently pre- 
scribed as a remedy for rheumatism. Euonomine 

I.E.IVES 12 1 

and inuii)- (jlhcrs ini_L;hl be included ;uni>n|^st tlic 
\aliitiblc j^ifts w hich nature has stored in the cells 
of tree-stems. 

S|)eciniens to l)e obtained : Leaves with straii;ht 
veins, such as ^rass or corn, h)acinth, narcissus, or 
any bulbous plants ; leaves with netted veins, such 
as oak, iv\', \ ine, &c. ; m(jnocot}ledon seedlin<js ; 
dicotylcclcjii seedlin<^s. Leaf-skin to be examined 
throut^h a microscope, in order to see stomata, 
chlorophvll, network, and cells. ICxaniine water- 
pores in leaves when exuding; moisture. Observe 
shadows thrown by leaves hekl Hat and edy;ev\a\-s 
to the sun. C<jnipare youn^' and old eucal}[)tus 
leaves. Observe line of cork below leaf-scars. 

Leaves ran lie ni.ide into l)eauuful skelclon.s l)y soaking a guod 
many Ingether in a pan of .stjfl water until tlie upper and under 
surfaces of the leaves are sufficiently decayeil to be easily removed 
by a soft hrusli ; the filire which is left can then be bleached with 
cliloride of lime. W'lien ninunleil with line wire these skeleton 
leaves lorm an inleresling grouj) to place under a i;lass shaile. 


Oh ! who can speak the joys of spring's young morn. 

When wood and pasture open on his view, 
When tender green buds blush upon the thorn 

And the first primrose dips its leaves in dew." 



ciiai'ti<:r V 


()\\ we watch for the burls as tokens 

of the coinitii;" spriiiLi' ! We deh't^ht 

to see them daily growing" larger, and 

pennig out their leaf)' treasures to the 


The re-clothing of the trees has al\\a\'s an 
clement of wonder about it ; the change is truly' 
a resurrection ; a few da\s of warm sunshine 
and gentle rain, and then the dry, dead-looking 
branches begin to bud and blossom as if b)- a 

We may, however, trace the secret of this 
sudden change, if we look back to the {jrocesses 
Nature was carry-ing on during the previous 
summer, and we may learn from her man\' a 
useful lesson of foresight and preparation. 


If during the summer we lift up the branch 
of any deciduous tree and search amongst the 
leaves, we shall find that the buds for the follow- 
ing year are already there, waiting to be developed 
in due time. When the leaves turn dry and sere, 
they fall off and leave the buds to be hardened 
and matured by the rain, snow, and frost of 

Certain species of Turkey oak, young beeches, 
hornbeams in hedges, and other trees, appear to 
retain their leaves, to some extent, as if to protect 
the buds until the rising sap in spring loosens 
their hold upon the branches, and makes them 
fall off. 

The plane-tree appears to be an exception to 
most trees in the curious protection it affords its 
young buds. If we search for these in the summer 
or autumn, they are not to be found, for the leaf- 
stalk is so swollen and hollow at the base as to 
enclose the bud within it ; even when the leaf falls 
off, the bud is covered by a tough outer case 
coated with resin, and within are many fur-lined 
scales. When these are removed we see the tiny 
leaves wrapped in silky coverings, and when the 

nuns 127 

warmth of spring enables tliem to expand, their 
under surfaces have such a thick coat of down 
that tlie plane is known in some countries as the 
cotton-tree. kroin its fruit bein;/ in the form of 


hanginfj circular balls, its name in America is the 
button-wood. The need of this s|)ccial protection 
ai^ainst cold is shown b\' the fact that if severe 
frost returns after the leaves have expanded, they 


frequently shrivel and perish. Some Japanese 
maples have the same arrangement of hollow leaf- 
stalks to contain the buds. 

When buds are situated at the end of a branch 
they are called terminal, and their office is to 
increase the length of the branch. 

When they grow in the axil of a leaf (that is, 
where the leaf-stalk joins the stem) then they are 
called axillary, and as they grow out and form 
fresh stems and leaves, the branch broadens on 
either side. 

Seeing that the branches of a tree thus spring 
from the buds, it follows that the position and 
development of the buds upon the stem, as we 
tried to show in the last chapter, have much to do 
with the ultimate shape of the tree. The develop- 
ment of the axil buds, as well as of the terminal 
bud, gives rise to a branched tree like the oak ; 
these buds, however, are often erratic, and in some 
trees the terminal bud of the shoot is often sup- 
pressed and the axil buds grow with extra vigour, 
whilst in other instances the terminal bud grows 
strongly and the axil buds either grow feebly or 
are altogether suppressed. In the bamboos, palms, 



and siiL^ar-canc \vc '^ct t^ood c'xami)lcs of this 
terminal biui-Lirowth, the axillar)- buds bciuL; 
suppressed ; the suckers that L^row from the axils 
of the lower le;i\es of the palm are often e\ idence 
of thi^ presence of axillar\' buds, altiioLiL;h thc\' 

are, as a rule, dormant. We are all more or less 
familiar with the character of ordinar)- forest trees, 
the rounded outline of the oak, tiie slender spra}-s 
of the birch, the spreading branches of the beech. 


but perhaps we may not ha\e remarked how much 
these variations of form are due to the position of 
the buds upon the branches. VVe will suppose 
that on a winter's da}' we are looking at the 
tracer)' of some elm-branches against the sky ; 
the form of each branch shows that the terminal 
bud in this tree usually ceases to grow, and allows 
the lateral shoots to increase in length, and take 
its place ; this produces short, twiggy branches, 
and a stem which makes a tall tree rather than 
a wide-spreading one. The horse-chestnut, again, 
produces its flowers in the terminal buds ; this 
arrests their growth, and side shoots ha\'e to grow 
on instead, thus usualh' giving height rather than 
breadth to the tree. We ma}' note the differing 
outline of the ^\'il!ow, birch, and man}' others 
where the terminal buds do not cease to grow, 
but each }'ear continue to add to the breadth as 
well as the height of the tree. 

In pine-trees the buds are produced at the ends 
of the branches, and several shoots proceed from 
one bud. 

The spiral arrangement of leaves is well seen 
in a }'oung coniferous shoot, also in the flower- 

lil'DS 131 

hiul, and cs[)cciall\' in the fir-cone itself, in which 
an ever-varying double spiral can be traced. 

Loudon remarks, " The perfection of a fir con- 
sists in height rather than in lateral expansion ; 
buds are produced very sparingly and nearl)' 
al\va}-s at the extremities of the shoots. Pro- 
vision is thus mafic for tlic ui)\\ard growth of 
the tree more than for side expansion." 

When we speak of a cotiiferous shrub ha\'ing 
lost its leader, we mean that the terminal bud on 
the topmost shoot having been broken off, one 
or more of the lower branches must rise up and 
take its place, and thus lateral buds in time 
become terminal and grow upright instead of 

A silver fir, that I have been obserxing 
for years past, bears such a crop of hea\)- 
cones on its slender upper branches that the 
leader is almost invariabl)' brcjken off b\- the 
weight, and the lateral shoots have to take its 
place, to the great detriment of the central stem, 
which is twisted and curved out of shape by the 
efforts the tree makes to repair its terminal 


In other trees, again, the unfolding of all the 
buds is nearly simultaneous, but in the fir tribe 
the bud which terminates the summit of the tree 
and is destined to form its leading shoot and 
increase its height is developed last ; this delay 
seems a provision of nature for the safety of the 
most important shoot which the tree can produce, 
ensuring its height rather than its breadth, and 
the production of timber by the preservation of 
its permanent trunk rather than by its temporary 

If a willow is deprived of the upper part of 
its stem and so made a pollard tree, it develops 
a bushy head of small stems which spring from 
the other buds thrown out to repair the loss of 
the central stem. This pollarding is often re- 
sorted to in order to obtain wood of the right 
kind for basket-making, and young ash trees are 
thus treated, so that slender rods suitable for 
hop-poles and tool-handles ma}- spring from the 
lopped stem. 

When buds are found growing on any other 
part of a plant except those just mentioned, 
they are called adventitious buds. These may 

/.7 7>.S 133 

be fouiicl [growing (^11 the cd^cs of the lc;i\cs 
of the marsh tway-bladc ; they also spriiv^ nut of 
the Hat surface of the fronds of the \i\iparous 

Under faxourable conth'tions e\ery part of a 
phmt will produce buds, and, taking' ad\antaL,re 
of this fact, llorists increase their stock of succu- 
lent plants b\' pultiuL; the leaves on a wet surface, 
which induces them t]uickl)' to send out buds and 
roots. Such plants as bei^onias, [gloxinias, hoyas, 
and sedums are readiis' increased b)' this mode 
of propagation. UnderL^^round stems will often 
sentl out buds, and the}' produce the underwood 
from the stiunps of fallen trees. 

We are all familiar with the suckers of trees 
which sjjriuL;" up in our lawns and t^raxel paths 
often many v'ards awa\' from the parent tree ; 
these all arise from active buds on underi^round 
stems, (lardeners are alwav's careful to prune 
awa\' such j^rouths at the base of then- wall- 
fruit-trees, since the\- rob their valuable peaches, 
nectarines, and a[)ricots of strent^th and nourish- 
ment. These well-named "suckers" sprinij from 
the common stock upon which the choice fruit- 


trees were grafted, as one may see by gathering 
a leaf from a sucker and comparing it with a 
peach or nectarine leaf 

On the oak, chestnut, lime, beech, and other 
trees there are sometimes to be found dormant 
buds in the form of rounded knobs covered 
with bark and increasing in size with the growth 
of the tree ; these, in the event of other buds 
perishing, will start into active growth and do 
their part in ])reserving the life of the tree. 

Such woody balls when found on the oak are 
worth examination, as when divested of their 
bark they show exquisite structure of woody fibre. 

The small bulbils we find in the axils of lily 
stems, on the cuckoo-flower, on Dentaria bulbifera, 
and on some species of Allium, are all adventitious 
buds, which drop off in due time and become 
young plants. 

They are in many respects similar to bulbs, 
and if we cut one in half and compare it with 
a divided hyacinth we shall see that they both 
consist of over - lapping scales. In the onion 
these scales are fleshy and succulent, but in 
most tree buds they are dry, hard membranes. 


The pear aiul inaL^iiolia buds are secured 
against \\inlr>- cold b>' uooll}' liiiin<;s to the 
scales, atid in the liorsc-rh(>stnut they are co\ere(l 


f.«^^:-s;,..«»^cS^.. ^. 


with a kind of resin which renders them im- 
pervious to moisture. 


It requires a careful use of the microscope to 
trace all that a bud contains ; I will there- 
fore quote the words of a German naturalist 
who dissected a horse-chestnut bud gathered in 
winter, and found that it contained sixty flowers. 
It would be interesting to select a terminal 
flower-bud of this tree ; by taking it carefully to 
pieces one might, with patience and using a 
powerful lens (or a microscope if one is avail- 
able), see for ourselves a good deal of what the 
writer describes : — 

" Having removed the outer scales, seventeen 
in number, cemented together by a gummy sub- 
stance to render the bud waterpoof, I discovered 
four leaves surrounding a spike of flowers, so 
clearly visible when magnified that I not only 
counted the number of flowers, but could discern 
the pollen on the stamens." 

The winter covering of a bud, both the inner 
and outer scales, are onl}' a temporary protection 
in order to keep out moisture and keep in w^armth, 
so that as the sun begins to gain power, the 
gummy covering of the bud melts and yields 
to the expanding pressure from within, when one 

urns 137 

after another the stick}' scales fall off, showing the 
)'()iini( leaves with their s(jft wooll)- surfaces ; 
these lea\es rapidl)' unfold and han<4" drof)|)in_L;ly 
until the midribs i;ain stren_L;th enou;_;h to hold 
them U|)rii;hl. 

]C\elyn remarked that, " As soon as the leadinL,^ 
shoot of the horse-chestnut has come out of the 
bud, it continues to i;ro\v so fast as to be able to 
form its whole summer's shoot, sometimes eighteen 
inches long, in about three weeks. After this it 
grows but little more in length, onl\- thickens, 
becomes strong and wood)-, and forms the buds 
for ntwt N'ear's shoot." 

lUids ha\e alwa}'s been to me a most interest- 
ing subject of stud}' ; there is much variet}' of 
character in them, and to those wlio obser\e them 
closely the}' re\eal in the autumn and winter 
what the tree is purposing to do in the following 

A beech-tree on m\- lawn bears its nuts onl}' 
ever}' second or third summer, and in the ])re\ious 
autunni 1 can alwa}'s tell whether the scjuirrels are 
likel}' to l)c well off for food in the conn'ng }'ear. 
b}' obser\ing tlvj size and shape of the buds. 



Those which contain the flowers are round and 
bulky, whilst the leaf-buds are long and slender. 

Embryo flowers are disposed in the buds in 
different ways. The wood-sorrel is rolled into a 
spiral, rose-petals are placed one within the other. 


the pink is folded in fi\e divisions, and others are 
pleated and fluted into the smallest possible space. 
Perhaps of all others the bud of the great Oriental 
poppy is the best example of exquisite packing. 
Early on a summer's morning you may see its 

hiiijjc j^frccii li.iir}- l)ii(l ,it the end of a stem se\eral 
feet in length, and whilst \ou are lookiiiLj the 
sepals or cah'x leaves suddcnl)' divide and fall 
• )(T, the mass of vix'id scarlet petals crumpled into 
a thousand folds bc<^ins to open out, and before 
loii^ the glorious flower, which is often as much as 
seven inches across, holds itself erect in majestic 

Those who possess a tulip-tree will hud its 
openiuLj buds reward examination. The leaves 
are folded in half and bent double, a pair of 
leaf-scales enclosing each of the true leaves. One 
may unpack the entire bud until we come to 
leaves almost to(j minute to be discerned. 

YouuLj sycamore-trees often have buds of lar<^e 
size and brilliant crimson colour ; the foldings of 
their lea\es are \er}' intricate, and form an interest- 
iiii;" contrast to th(»sc of the tulip-tree. Hart's-ton<;ue 
fern, arum, and pear leaves afford three \er\' remark- 
able modes of foldin<j in the bud. 

.Another point of character in buds is of consider- 
able importance to the horticulturist, namel)', the 
fact that in some cases the \aluc of the flowers 
produced \aries with the position of the buds. For 



instance, the blossoms produced from the crown- 
bud I of certain chrysanthemums are poor and pale 




OK hakt's-toxgue 


in colour compared with those grown on the side 
' The uppermost bud of the central shoot. 

/.7 7>.s 141 

shoots ; the latter are therefore retained aiul 
fostered, so that from them flowers of the finest 
descrii:)tion ma\' he obtained. 

in culti\atin;4" fruit-trees it is found needful not 
onl\' to |jruiie a\\a\' redundant branches which 
bear leaves only, but also where stroni,^ woody 
n^ots are proinotini;' the growth of leaf-buds, the\' 
also ha\e to be pruned, so that the check thus 
i^ixen to the i^rowth of the tree ma\- result in the 
formation of fibrous roots, which will tend to the 
production of flower-buds and a resulting crop of 

I have often observed that the transplantation 
of trees leads to their throwin^^ out flowers in the 
succeeding year. This was notabl)- the case with 
an avenue of deodars which had o\ergrown m\- 
carriage drive ; the)' received a considerable check 
in being transplanted, but in the following year 
their branches were coxered w ith male catkins and 
some few cones succeeded. 

For this reason the remoxal of fruit-trees is not 
unfrequentl)- resorted to, as a means of inducing 

So much vigour is stored up in the bud, that it 


will bear being removed from one tree and inserted 
in the stem of another, within which it will grow 
and become a part of the living tree. This is one 
of the means by which we have obtained such an 
infinite variety of roses ; the buds from choice 
species being readil}' made to grow upon strong 
briar stocks, and thus one may also see roses of 
several different colours blossoming on the same 
stem. Choice varieties of fruit-trees are cultivated 
in the same way by means of buds inserted in the 

Having observed how flowers are arranged in 
the bud, we may go on to dissect incipient leaves 
and learn how they are placed. ^ We shall find 
that the frond of the hart's-tongue fern is rolled up 
from the tip, the arum gracefully curved length- 
wise. Pear leaves are rolled from side to side 
towards the middle, and so is the primrose, but the 
reverse way. Beautiful examples of curled leaves 
may also be seen in the water-Hl)' and banana. 

In grasses the first leaves are equivalent to bud- ' 
scales, and protect those which continue to grow 
from the centre, each one sheathing out of the 

' \'enation. 

/.7 7)S 143 

previous leaf after the inamier of mmiocotj'le- 

The colourint,^ of buds is one of the loN'eK' 
features of sprini,^. Seen against the blue of the 
sky, the coral red of the lime, s\'cainore, and 
Japanese maple buds, cannot be i)assed b\- without 
notice. The whitebcam has a beauty of its own 
for its buds are lart^e and white with downy cover- 
int^s, ^i\ini^ promise of the future leaves which are 
so lit^ht-coloured underneath, that the effect when 
they are blown aside b\- the wind is curious and 
beautiful. The Germans call it uichl-baum or meal- 
tree, from its whitish down}- leaves. 

Tile variegated vine, sometimes seen in i^reen- 
houscs, has e.xquisite buds of pinkish crimson, with 
bright N'eliow stipules. H\- wa}- of contrast, I once 
placed .some spraj's of it in a i^lass with twii^s of 
purple ha/.el which are of a deep claret brow n ; 
the\' were not on!}' «)pposite in colour, but curiously- 
different in habit, the \ ine holdint^ its bud erect, 
and the ha/.el as persistently- droopin<j. These 
variations lead me again to remark that, to a close 
observer, buds will be found to differ much in 
' One seed leaf plants. 


character and to be well worth}- of close atten- 

I will mention some trees whose buds are speci- 
alh' remarkable for beauty of form whilst unfoldin<^". 
The mountain ash has \ery graceful leaves when 
just emerging from the bud ; the\' show on their 
upper and under surfaces two distinct shades of 

The unfolding weigelia buds are extremely 
jM-ctty in shaj^e, the leaves being pointed and 
delicatel}- curled. 

I need hardl)- mention the beech ; nothing can 
be more exquisite than a spray of its opening 
buds with their silky fringed young leaves and 
crimson leaf-scales. I look forward every spring 
to the joy of watching the unfolding of these 

A warm sho^\■er or two and some sunn}- da}-s 
cause them to expand with a rapidit}- which seems 
magical, and one almost regrets to find the beauty 
of the buds in their early stages so quickl}- passing 
awa}-. The ash attracts notice by its jet-black 
buds, and the w ayfaring tree b}- the delicate vena- 
tion of its }-oung leaves. 



I cannot refrain fmin mentioning another beauti- 
ful effect arisiiiL; from x'ouul; buds in the case of a 
/V<"<v///r'/;//^\i/"A///tv^ which Ioul,^ name simply means 
a sea-i,n'een siKer-fir, slamhiiL; on our hiwn. In 
the sunnner its terminal buds are a \ery pale sea- 
i^reen, and as they Ljrow and iV 

are seen a^^ainst the (hirk L,freen 
of the rest (jf the folias^e the 
effect is \ ery curious, as though 
each branch had become tij^ped 
with frosted siKer. 

The soft silk)- buds of the 
willow, and especialK' those of fl 
the low L^rtjwin^:, sallow uhicii 
are gathered as " palm " for 
church decoration, are auKjngst 
the welcome signs of early 
spring. The sallow has its 
male blossoms on one tree, 
but not far away we shall 
find the female tree bearing tkki:. 

the flowers which will eventually produce the seeds. 
We may therefore seek for three kinds of buds, 
those which produce the flowers on each tree, and 

lil 1)S OK W.VVIAKIM, 


the (others which will clothe the tree with leaves 
when the blossoms are over. 

This chapter shows us how much there is to 
instruct the student of nature during the winter as 
well as the summer months. 

I have but indicated a \ery few out of the many 
lines of stud)' which ma}' be taken up ; one could 
write essay after essay upon the growth of a single 
hedgerow, but all I can ho[:)e to do in simple 
chapters of this kind is to throw out hints and 
indications, and trust that my young readers may 
find their interest sufficiently excited by what they 
have read, to lead them on to fuller, deeper study of 
each point touched upon. 

Nature is an inexhaustible storehouse of 
wonders, and the further we explore, the more 
our eyes are opened to see the vistas that lie 
before us, branching out in various directions. 

This special path of botanical study is one that, 
more or less, can be pursued at intervals, as oppor- 
tunity may offer through life, and as it adds much 
pleasure to leisure hours, I specially commend it 
to my young readers. 

Specimens to be obtained and compared with 

/.7 7>,s 


the (lcsci"i|)ti(His ill this t liaplcr : ScMith fni hiids 
ill siiimiuT ; ])Ianc-licc IjikIs ; japaiioc maples ; 
UTiiiiiial and axillai')' buds; observe shape and 
DUlh'iie iif trees ; buds of conifeious trees ; fir cone; 
fir-tree that has I0/.I its leath'iiL;' shoot ; pollard 
willow, and other trei's, buds on m.irsh t\\a)'-blade, 
and \i\iparous fern ; buds on undert;r()Uiul stems; 
suckers from wall-fruit trees; dormant buds or 
knobs on tree-stems ; bulbils on lil\', dentaria 
and allium ; hcM'se-chestiuit ternn'nal bud ; observe 
leadini,^ shoot of horse-chestnut in earh' summer ; 
flower and leaf bud- on beech; \arious flouer- 
buds ; Oriental p<>pp\' > tulip-tree buds; \ arious 
leaf-buds unfoldiiiL; : colouring; of Ja|)anese maple, 
lime, and s)-camore buds ; whitebeam ; \arieL;atecl 
vine ; pur|jlc hazel ; mountain ash ; spra\' of beech 
buds ; ash buds ; Piiid //o/>///s i^/rr/ntf ; willow and 
sallow, male and female tlower buds ami Icif 
buds ; bandjoo. 



^'()ur voiceless lips, O flowers, are living preachers ; 
Eacli cup a pulpit, every leaf a book 
Sujjphing to tlic funcy numerous teachers 
hroin loneliest noo]< " 

Horace Smith. 



NS'l'MAl) of looking at flowers as brij^ht 
and hcautiful objects made to be a 
source of continual deliL(ht in our 
daih' lives, thoui^h such the\- truh' are. 
we will rather now, for purposes of stud}-, 
consider them as the means by which the plant 
carries out the purjiose of its creation, nameh', to 
perfect its seed and thus per|)etuate its species. 

in the life-history of shrubs, trees, and plants we 
fmd this is their one aim, .and that exerx'thini^" else 
is stibserxient to it. 

The stamens and i)istil beini^ of essential imijort- 
ance in forming the seed, we find them placed for 
safet)' in the centre of the flower ; f(jlded round 
them are the petals or coloured parts of the flower. 


and outside these again are the green sepals, or 
leaves of the cal)'x. 

These two sets of enfolding leaves are called 
" floral envelopes," because the)' fold over and 
protect the central organs, the stamens and the 

We will select a buttercup as a t)'pe, and taking 
it to pieces we will try to learn the names and 
uses of its various parts. 

The outside is a greenish-yellow cup which is 
called the calyx. 

The divisions of this little green cup are called 
sepals, and their office is to protect the five bright 
yellow leaves within, which are called petals when 
we speak of them singly, but, taken all together, 
form the corolla. 

In the buttercups the petals are all separate, but 
if we look at a primrose we shall see that the 
corolla is in one piece, united in a tube ; so also is 
the calyx. 

The botanical term for a corolla thus formed is 
gauiopetaloiis, a long word but easil)- understood 
when we know 'Ca'dX gamos means united ; a flower 
with petals in one instead of many divisions is 


more casih' referred tf) b)- this word than if we 
had each time to express it b)- a sentence. 

Gathering a newlj'-opened flower, we can see at 
a j^dance that the sepals are placed (luite below the 
central L,n'een or_L;ans of the flower, and that the\' 
arc in no waj- influenced by the petals ; we also see 
that the jietals are entirely separate from the other 


parts of the flower, and we learn, as the result of 
our examination, that the parts of the buttercu]) 
arc /rtr. To express this botanicalK- we prefix 
the word " pol\' " to the words sepals and petals, 
and so we get polysepaloiis, meaning that the sepals 
are quite free and distinct, and polypetalous referring 
to the same condition of the petals. 

Now, having removed the petals and sepals, we 


can proceed to stud}' the other parts of the 

First we find a great number of little )-ellowish 
stalks tipped with tiny pouches ; these are the 
stamens, and in the little pouches (anthers) the 
yellow powder termed pollen is developed. We 
will carefully take away these stamens, and note in 
so doing that they are all distinct and all sprung 
below the green central j^art. Like the sepals and 
petals, we find the stamens are free and unin- 
fluenced by the other parts. If we again compare 
this with a primrose-flower we shall find a 
difference ; the stamens of the primrose spring 
from the petals and are therefore called epipetalons 
{epi upon, a petal). Again in the sweet-pea or 
scarlet runner we find the stalks of the stamens 
are all joined together. We now have left upon 
the flower-stalk the little central green parts 
previous!}' mentioned ; there are quite a number 
of them ; each one is distinct from its neighbour 
and is free. These bodies are known as carpels, 
the}' are large at one end and taper to a curved 
point at the other, the brpad end being attached to 
the stem. Collectively these carpels constitute the 

ILOm-RS 155 

pistil, and because the carpels are apart aiul free it 
is said to be npocnrpoiis. 

The flower of the Httle woodsorrel ( Oxa/is 
acctosclla ) will help us to understand better the 
arrangement of the carjjels. If we take aw a)- the 
sepals, petals and stamens, we shall ha\e onl}' the 
carpels left, and these are fi\e in number. The)- 
are in the saine position as those of the buttercu]), 
but the)' arc not separate, the>' are joined b)- their 
inner surfaces. We can plainl\- sec that this is the 
case, since each carpel is distinctl)' f)utlined and 
there are five little tapering ends (.stigmas). The 
pistil in this case is said to be sy)icarpoHS. 

Names are given to express some quality, and 
the\' often draw our attention to interesting facts 
about the plant's mode of growth or the jilace 
where it is found ; for instance, the prett)- blue 
nemophila is so called from lu'tiios, a grove, and 
pliilo, I lo\e, because it delights in shad\- places. 

Geranium is derived from i:;cra)ios, a crane, 
because the fruit of some of the species resemble 
the beak of that bii'd. 

Some plants are named after famous botanists, 
as Litnuca after Linna.'us. 


Others derive their names from their mode of 
growth, as stone-crop, which is called sedum, from 
sfdo, I sit, the plant having scarceh* an}' stalk, and 
sitting, as it were, on walls and rocks. 

These instances will show that it is well worth 
while to study names and learn their meanings, as 
they often throw so much light upon the history of 
a plant. 

In the flowers of bulbous plants we find that the 
calyx and petal leaves are frequently alike in 
colour and texture ; in that case the three sepals 
and three petals, of which the}- usualh' consist, are 
spoken of as a perianth. 

In looking at the brilliant colouring of a flower 
we should hardly imagine that the petals have to 
some extent the nature of leaves, and under certain 
conditions ma}- be changed to the green colour 
and form of ordinar}- leaves. 

In ver}' wet seasons we ma}- sometimes find 
rose-buds with the sepals of the cal}'x developed 
into perfect green leaves. The floral envelopes 
therefore possess the nature of true leaves. 

The brilliant scarlet so-called flowers of the 
poinsettia are reall}' coloured bracts, the true 

158 (;iJMrsEs ixTO pi.ast-life 

flower beins^ the small inconspicuous blossom in 
the centre. 

In the chapter on leaves we saw that bracts are 
those small imperfecth'-shapecl leax'cs in the axils 
of which flowers are placed. They are usually 
green, but may be also brilliantly tinted as in the 
mauve-coloured Bougainvillia, the bright violet 
spikes of the Salvia Hormincwii, and also pure 
white as in the s[)athe of the arum. 

liy special cultixation flowers can be made 
double, for excess of nourishment will cause the 
jjlant to n^iultiply its petals. Instead of the five 
pink petals of the wild rose we find one of our 
garden roses bearing as many as eighty or a 
hundred petals. 

Double flowers but rarely produce seeds, because 
the stamens and pistil ha\e been turned into petals, 
and as there is no need to attract insects for 
fertilising purposes, there is no secretion of hone)', 
and therefore we scarcely e\er see hone)'-bees in 
double flowers ; they are wise enough to know 
that their visits to them would be in vain. 

In composite flowers such as asters and sun- 
flowers the change, when they are double, occurs 
in several ways. 

/•7.()irA"A'.S" i5.> 

The centre iiia\- become filled with llitiels 
to those ill the outside I'ini;', or the florets in the 
middle m;i\- become larger or of a different colour. 

These various chan<^es may be readily observed 
in the culti\ated chrysanthemums, in which every 
form and \ariet\- of flowerini^ can be traced. 

When the pollen has reached the pistil the 
llower bcL^iiis to fade, because its end has been 
attained ; nature, howexer, has such \ariety in 
even the smallest of her operatifjiis that the 
passing; a\\a\- of a fl(j\ver is accomplished in 
different w axs. in the primrose the corolla withers 
and drops to the i;r(jund. The flower of the 
sjiiderwort, one of our common s^arden plants, 
becomes pulpy as it fades, in this way rescmbliuL,^ 
the pine-apple plant, the fl<j\\er of which e\entuall\- 
becomes the lusci(jus succulent fruit. 

The popp)- is proxerbial for its fleeting i:)etals, 
which scarcely last more than a few hours, a 
passinj^ wind soon scatterini^ them far and w ide. 

'■ ricasiiics iiic like ixijiijics spiciul, 

\'ou .scizf Ihc flower, its hlooni is shed I 

Or like the snow-fall in the river, 

A moment while— then melts for ever." (Burns.) 

Some flowers, as the lu'drangea, have persistent 



petals, which simply lose their brilliant tints and 
become touMi and brown. 

The calyx of the physalis or winter cherry 

/•v.oir/.A'.s 161 

continues to i^row after the flowers are fertilised 
until the round balloon-like ba<^ is formed in 
which the fruit is enclosed. 

We will now examine tlie parts of a flower 
separately, he^imu'n;^ u ith the cal\\. 

In the buttercup the cal\'\ consists of one whorl 
( >r rini; ot fi\ t- se|)als. 

In the straw tK-rr\- there are two whfirls of sepals, 
aiifl in the cotton plant there are three whorls 
forming;' its L;"reen cal}x. 

There are also variations in the mode c)f flower 

As a pop|)\--bu(l opens it detaches its cal\\x 
from the stem, and the sepals fall off the cal\-x is 
therefore called caducous, a term which means 
ready to droj) off;. 

Many flowers retain the calxx until the petals 
wither and it falls off with them. It is then called 
a deciduous cal\'x. 

Others a_L;ain ha\e a permanent cal\x, so that 
when, as in the primrose, the corolla withers and 
drops off, the sepals close over the seed-\essel and 
protect it until the seeds arc matured ; this would 
be called botanically a persistent cal\x. 

1 62 


The best way to learn the names of the different 
parts of a flower is to pull it carefull)' to pieces 
and arranf^e the separate ort^ans on a thin card. 
They can be tacked on to the card with a stitch 
or two of fine thread, and 
when the lesson is over, if the 
card is placed between sheets 
of blotting-paper under a 
weight, the flower dissections 
will dry and be useful for 
reference later on. 

Each separate part of the 
flower should have its name 
neatly written beneath it, so 
that when a good many dif- 
ferent flowers have been thus 
dissected they ma)' be com- 
pared and the variations in 
form and position dul}' noted. 
A wallflower will be a 
good subject for our dissection. 

At the back of the petals we first take off the 
calyx, which consists of four divisions called 
sepals. We then pull off the four yellow petals, 


/•/.OIlV-./v'S 163 

aiifl as thc\- aiv i)lacc(l in the form of a cross it 
shows tliat this jjlant is a crucifcr, or cross-bearer, 
one iif a \er)' lar^e natural order, Cnui/rne,^ none 
of which are poisonous and \er\- man)' are useful 
foo(l-|)lants, such as cabbaL^e, turin'|), watercress, 
and caulitlowcM-. Now there remain six stamens 
— four loni;' and two shorter ones; these last rise 
outside of and alternate with two nectaries or 

The stems of the stamens are called filaments, 
fromy?//////, a thread; and the upper part, containing 
yellow powder, is called the anther, the proper 
name for the powder itself being pollen. 

In the centre of the flower is the pistil, the lower 
part of which is the ovar}-, the part of a flower 
which contains the o\ules, and is so named from 
ovum, an egg. 

The stem part of the pistil is called the st)-le 
and the top of it is the stigma. 

Such simple words as I ha\e given must be 
learned, else we cannot understand botanical 
descriptions, and if this page is studied whilst wo 
have the flowers in our hands it will not be difficult 

' .\11 cross-shaped flowers do not, however, belong to this order. 


to identify each separate organ ; when these are 
once arranged on a card with the name of each 
part written beneath it, we shall have attained 
some ver}' useful information read}- for future 

Tn the buttercuj) flower all the fixe petals are 
the same size and shape ; therefore, like hundreds 
of other evenl)'-formcd blossoms, it would be 
described as "regular" ; but if we take a sweet- 
l^ea, balsam, or monkshood-flowcr and examine its 
separate petals, we shall find the}- vary \'ery much 
in form, and the}- are known as " irregular " 

The sweet-pea is a t}pe of a large order of 
plants producing what are called butterfly-shaped 
flowers, and papilio being Latin for a butterfly, 
they are therefore called papilionaceous flowers. 
If we learn clearh' about the \arious parts of such 
a flo\\'er we shall henceforth be able to recognise it 
at a glance. 

In the sweet-pea we find a broad petal at the 
back of the flower which is called the standard, 
beneath it are the two side petals called wings, and 
within them is the keel, so named because it is 



shaped like the bottom of a ship. Within tlie ki'el 
He the stamens and pistil tlu' most im|)ortant 
parts of the (lower, and to protect them from injury 
the standard is so formed as to catch the u ind like 
a sail and turn the blossom round s(^ that this 
broad petal shelters t'.ie keel from rain. 


In our next ramble out of doors it will be well 
to tr\' and gather all the s])ecimens we can fmd of 
this order of |:)lants. If it be in summer or autumn 
we shall soon collect a handful of these butterfl}-- 
shaped flowers. 

On a common we shall tind broom, fur/.e, rest- 


harrow, vetches, tares, trefoil, clover, saintfoiii, and 
other plants. In the <^arden and greenhouse we 
shall see many more species belonging to this 

Having shown the difference between a regular 
and irregular flower, we will now proceed to notice 
how irregularity is caused. 

If we pull off one of the buttercup petals and 
look at the base of it, we shall see a small pouch 
which contains hone}' ; it is called a nectary or 
honey gland, and the position of this gland has 
much to do with the shape of the flower. 

As each petal of the buttercup has a nectary at 
its base it follows that, all the petals being the same 
size and shape, the flower is perfectly regular — 
like a small golden cup. Now in other flowers we 
shall find the nectary very large and confined to 
one petal or sepal only, and this results in the 
flower having an irregular shape. Gather a violet, 
examine and compare the petals ; four of them 
will be found to be nearly alike, but the lower petal 
is much larger because it has grown into a tube 
(called a spur; to secrete honey, and I need hardly 
say that the honey is intended to attract the bees 

/•■/.() 1 1 7: A". S 167 

so that the Howrr may be enabled to produce 
fertile seed. The enlargement (jf the Unver i)etal 
^ives the fl(j\\er an irregular shape, and the same 
thiiiLj ha[;pens in the monkshood and man)- other 
flowers, where both the petals and sepals are 
thrown out of shape to form nectaries. In the 
orchid family this influence may be traced to a 
wonderful det^ree. The contrivances for insurinj^ 
the fertilisati(jn of tiieir flowers are so many and 
various that books of the ^^reatest interest have 
been written un that subject alone. 

In the flowers we have hitherto noticed, both 
stamens and pistils are found, the petals are 
coloured, honey-glands exist, and some specimens 
also possess a powerful scent. 

Such flowers are obviousl)- ver)- attractixe to 
insects, and tm that account the)' are called b)- 
modern botanists, entomophihnis, which long word 
means that they are belo\ed b)' insects. 

In sharp contrast to these gay and conspicuous 
flowers we may observe the ver)' simple catkins of 
the birch, Bctula alba. If we examine a twig of 
this tree in spring, we shall find two very distinct 
kinds of flowers (or catkins, as tree-blossoms ought 



properly to be calledj, one a stiff green spike 
standing upright, and the other longer and of 
yellowish colour, always to be found hanging 

The former consists (jf a number of scales 
arranged on a central stem, and in the axil of each 
scale is the little pistil, with its pointed and divided 
stigmas. This catkin, later on, becomes the fruit 
of the tree, and sheds out with every passing breeze 


Xatuml Size 

Mai^ii ijicd. 


its little winged fruits, which are carried far and 
wide and often sow themselves in rocky crevices, 
and appear able to grow and flourish with only a 
modicum of soil. 

The pendulous catkin is very soft and loose, and 
on the inner surface of its scales we find the 
stamens, which in due time will shed from their 
anthers the fertilising pollen. Here then we see 
flowers which are not so attractive to insects. 

/■■/.oil 7. A' S l(n) 

lliiwfi'.s ill which [he slainciis and pistils arc 
separated and dcNcloped in (hlferenl catkins, and 
such llouers are termed inondjcioiis, from //wnos, 
single, and oikcis, a liouse. 

Tlie most interestin<4' feature of tliese trcc- 
blossonis is their fertih'sation by the wind ; the 
sh'i^htest putT of air hl)erates httle clouds of |)ollen 
from the loose swin^L;in^' anthers ; these pcjllen 
Lj^rains become entani;led in the u|M'iL;"ht catkins 
bearing;' the pistils, and the future seed thus 
becomes fruitful There are man)' trees and phmts 
which are thus fertihsed 1j\' the agency of the wind, 
and the\' are termed 1)}' botanists aucinophilous^ 
from the (ireek words aticmos, wind, and pliilos, 
beloxed b}'. 

In the common br)-on\- of the hedi^es, we i^et 
another example of a Ljreen inconspicuous flower, 
(iather a few s{)ra}'s of this in earl\- summer, 
taking care to keep the specimens of each plant 
separate. Take up one specimen and }ou will find 
eacli (lower has a small L;reen calx'x, a minute 
corolla, and fi\e little stamens; not one pistil can 
we llnd on the spraw 

The flowers on the ne.xt spra\' look \er)- 



similar, but in them there are no stamens, the 
centre of each flower being occupied by a small 
pistil, and thus we learn that there are two distinct 
sexes in the bryony plant, the one bearing only 
staminate flowers, and the other 
producing those bearing only 
j:)istils. Such plants are termed 
dicecious, from di, two, and oikos, 
a house. 

One of the earliest spring 
flowers is the arum of the hedges, 
known to village children as 
"lords and ladies." Accustomed 
as we are to bright-hued flowers 
in our gardens and fields, it is 
somewhat difficult to recognise 
that the pale-green sheath of 
the arum is a flower at all. It 
consists of a beautifully-folded 
spathe or bract, curving over at 
the top, and if we remove that we find a central 
stalk bearing a number of little naked flowers, 
arranged in the order shown in the plate. 

First, below the club-like apex, a few hairs tend- 


/•/.()ii7:a'.s 171 

iiii; (low nuards, then the anthers containinj^ [jollen, 
and below these the pistils with protruding stigmas. 
The whole stalk is termed a s|)adix. 

The outer green spathe forms a kind of prison, 
into which flies are enticed b)- the somewhat fetid 
odcHir which is exhaled by the flower. The flies 
easil)' cree[) in past the circle (jf hairs, which, as 
the\' point downwards, do not prevent their 
entrance, but, once in, these hairs are like a 
i/u'i'<Ji(X-(/c-f?isi', and hinder the escaj^e of the 
insects. The flies in all i)r(jbabilit\' carr\' upon 
their wings pollen from some other arum flower, 
and in their efforts to escape they brush off this 
pollen upon the stigmas, which thus become 
fertilised. When this has taken place the stigmas 
throw out a sweet juice u])on which the insects 
feed ; the anthers now shed out their pollen, with 
which the flies bec(jme covered ; the hairs mean- 
while have withered, and thus the flies, having done 
their appointed work in fertilising the flower, are 
free to crawl out and perform the same office for 
some neighbouring plant. 

We have not space to do more than allude to 
certain plants, whose flowers never open and are 


self-fertilised. The common violet, for instance 
produces, in addition to its well-known fragrant 
flowers, certain inconspicuous blossoms, hidden 
under the leaves and close to the root, very seldom 
noticed by any but botanists, and known to them 
as cleistogamic flowers ; these are fertile, and 
always produce seed. Other such plants are the 
woodsorrel and sundews. 

It is interesting to observe the various ways in 
which flowers are protected from browsing animals, 
snails, and caterpillars b}' thorns, spines, prickles, 
and spiny bracts. The teasel secretes water in the 
bracts around its stem, which prevents ants from 
ascending to the flowers, and in many plants we 
may see quantities of small insects caught by a 
sticky gum exuded from the leaves and twigs. 

Many delicate plants entirely alter the position 
of their flowers in order to protect them from rain. 
On a sunny day the wood-anemone holds its little 
snowy cup so as to receive the full sunlight, but on 
a damp day e\"ery blossom is closed and held 
downwards. We may observe this in the po[)p}', 
the blue-anemone, and nearl)'all comjjcjsite flowers. 

These are merely hints scattered over a wide 


field of stud), which some readers may Mke to 
follow out. 

Objects to collect and examine: — JUittercup 
(lowers, seed-\essel of wild-geranium, stonecrop 
L^rowinL;' on walls, llowers of hulhous ])lants, flowers 
of poinsettia, t)oui;ain\ illi.i, sal\ ia hormineum, 
arum. Ivxamine \arious chr\-santhemum flowers, 
sunflowers, asters and w oodsoirel. Difference 
between hxdran^ea and p<>pl>> Howers, winter 
cherry (phx'salis ; prepare flower dissections. 
I'.xamine \arious cruciferous flowers and pea- 
shaped flowers, re^iular and irregular flowers, birch 
catkins, wild arum flowers, cleistogamous flowers, 
protection of flowers, position of flowers. 


" When summer sliines, 
The bee transports the fertilising meal 
From flower to flower, and even the hreathin;::; air 
Wafts the rich prize to its appointed use." 





'I'", now come to the consideration of the 
real function of the (lower of a phint. 
In \\hate\er fovm it is developed. 
^Ai^iw>' wliether as a L;"a\' and frai^rant blossom, 
in a dull foul-smcllini;" structure like the 
arum, or as a i^reen inconspicuous little floret like 
the grass, its main office is to reproduce itself b\* 
the formation of seed. We will first glance at 
some of the wonderful agencies that actixely help 
in this work. 

There are at least three distinct processes 
necessar\- for the complete formation oC a perfect 
seed, and we must, I fear, persuade oursehes to 
learn some of the long words b\- which bf)tanists 
speak of these processes. The\' are known as 

12 ''" 


pollination, fertilisation, and the growth of the 
ovule. There is so much to be said about the 
first subject, that I must leave the two latter for 
a succeeding chapter. 

Before seed can be formed it is necessary that 
the powder contained in the anthers, which is 
called pollen, should be transferred from those 
anthers to the stigma or upper part of the pistil, 
and this transference is called pollination. If we 
examine a tulip or, better still, a buttercup, we 
find the anthers and stigmas so near together 
that the transfer of the dust-like jjt^Uen to the 
sticky- looking stigmas can easily take place. 
This \\-ould be called an instance of self- 
pollination, but although cases of this kind do 
occur in nature, they are not at all common. 
As a rule, in order to ensure what is called 
cross-pollination, the transfer of the pollen of one 
flower to the stigma of another, many wonderful 
and interesting arrangements exist even in some 
of our commonest flowers. 

Cross-pollination must be the case in such plants 
as dog's mercury, because we find in a colony of 
these plants — so frequently seen by the roadside — 



that some plants ha\c flowers with stamens onl)', 
and others containiuL^ onl)' |)istils. A^ain, in the 
hazel we may see how impossible it is for self- 
pollination to take place, as, if we examine the 
pistils, we find that they C(jnsist of scales bearin^^ 
stainens and pollen onl\', whilst scjmewhere close 
b\', on the same stem, han^s the prelt\- little red 
flower which possesses the pistil and forked stit^ma. 


If seed is to be formed in (.-ither of these flowers 
and in man\' others similarly arrant^ed, then the 
l)ollen of one flower must be transferred to the 
stiij^ma of the other. 

There are interestiiii^' facts to be learned about 
the common primrose. When we examine a little 
bunch of these flowers wi- fnid (|uite half of them 
are what children call |)in-eyed, meaning; that the 


.stiy,ma, w hich is at the end uf a lung pistil, is like 
the head of a pin in the throat of the primrose. 

Looking" at the sketch, we see at once that self- 
pollination is hindered b\' the fact that the anthers 
in this flower being at the bottom of the tube, the 
pollen they contain must be transferred by some 
direct agency before it can come in contact with 
any stigma. Now let us examine the other flowers 
in our primrose nosegay ; we find the stamens in 
these are placed in the mouth of the tube, and the 
])istil is (]uite short and low down in position. At 
first sight it appears as if the pollen Mould fall 
directly upon the pistil, since the stamens are 
above that organ, but this is not exactly what 
happens ; the pollen of this particular form of 
flower is shed before the stigma is mature, so 
that when it has reached maturit}' the pollen 
is all gone. 

The arrangement of nature is as follows. An 
insect attracted by the sweet-smelling bank of 
primroses will visit the flowers, thrusting its 
proboscis down a pin-eyed flower until in so 
doing its head has been dusted \\ith the pollen 
of the stamens ; then withdrawing from that 



flower tlie insect \isits another near by, possihl)- 
ont! with a short pistil ; the pollen on its head 
is now rubbed off and falls upon the stit^ma below 
and pollinates it, for that is tiie term used when 
this act takes place. 

The prett)' maiden-pink w ill helj^ us still mr)re 


cicarl}' to understand how cross-pollination is pro- 
moted in flowers containini;' both stamens and 
pistils. Select a flower that has just opened, the 
petals of which are spreading; and frin<^ed, whilst 
from the centre of the flower a cluster of stamens 
projects w ith the pollen mature and easil)- shaken 


out of the anther lobes ; the pistil is concealed in 
the lont;" tube, and in this stage there is no sign 
of stigma. In a short time, however, if we examine 
the flower again, we shall find the stamens have 
shrivelled up, and in their place a forked stigma 
appears, as shown in the sketch. Here again it is 
ob\'i()Us that the fact of the stamens ripening first 
and expending their energ)- before the pistil is ripe 
must mean, that in order to secure seed the pollen 
from some \'ounger flower must be transferred, 
probably also b\' insect agenc)'. It will give fresh 
interest to our garden rambles if we remember that 
the bees and flies we see hovering over the flowers 
are not onl)' collecting hone)' or feasting upon it, 
but are al'-o performing a ver)' important office for 
the benefit of the plants they are visiting. 

We ma\' no\t proceed to notice the various 
agencies for the conve\'ance of pollen between 

These agencies are water, wind, insects and birds. 

In an earlier chapter I ga\e an account of the 
]\Tillis}icria spiralis, \\\\\<i\\ will serve as a t)'pe of 
a water-pollinated flower. 

Those pollinated b)- w ind are, as I have said in'.iriox 183 

a |)re\i(nis cha|)tcr, called aiicinf)|)hilous (auoiios, 
wind, and p/ii/os, l()\inL,s. 1 hc\' arc iisuall)' of 
small si/c and inconspicuous character, with \er\- 
little or no scent, and devoid of colour ; these are 
characteristics that are not always associated in the 
same species ; thus in the ha/.el, w hich is a u ind- 
pollinated flow er, we find a bright )'ellow catkin fso 
well known to children as lambs' tails; and a small 
but briL;ht red pistil. 

Let us notice, howe\er, how wonderfuU)* these 
plants are adapted for this method of pollination ; 
the stamens are usuall\- hanijini^, and the pollen, 
produced in i^reat quantities, is easil\- set free b}' 
the slii^htest breath of wind. The stit^ma of the 
hazel, of different L(rasses and of sedi:jes are bcjth 
forked and |)lumcd, so that pollen i^rains floatint;' in 
the air are readil)- intercepted. 

The firs and pines are excellent examples of 
wind-pollinated trees. I remember once possessing 
a ripe male cone of the Arnncan'a imbricata, and 
ascertainin;^ that it contained as much as a wine- 
glassful of [)ollen. Speaking about this fact to the 
gardener at the I'inetum at Dro[)more, I was 
show II how this fertilisin!"- dust from the i/reat 


Araucaria f which was planted there in 1830^ was 
carried b)' the wind for an amazing distance to a 
female tree on the other side of the garden, pollin- 
ating its cones so that they produced fertile seeds. 
In some of the Canadian pine forests, the trees 
shed forth such quantities of pollen in the flower- 
ing season that the ground becomes perfectly' yel- 
low. The early settlers, being unable to account 
for the strange phenomcnoti in any other way, 
ascribed it to showers of sulphur descending from 
the clouds. Even in our own country the foliage 
and undergrowth in the neighbourhood of fir 
woods is often thicklx' coated with the )'ellow dust 
falling from the male catkins of the trees ; the 
structure of the pollen grains is such that the\' float 
very buoyantl)'. each grain being provided with two 
air bladders. I may mention in passing that this 
apparently wasted pollen affords a rich feast to 
endless species of bees and flies, and is in man)' 
cases stored up b)' them as food for their }'oung 
grubs. The various adaptations for wind pollina- 
tion will perhaps be better understood if we glance 
at the attractions which flowers offer to birds and 


Colour scr\'cs t<> ivudcr llowcrs attractixt- U> 
insects, and to niakr ihcin conspicuous ; tlu- liracts, 
petals, and scjjals of llowcrs arc usuall\' of sonic 
li;^dit or dark colour (juitt- distinct from the i^reen 
t< )ne ( if the loliam". 

It lias jjcen ascertained also that plants which 
are pollinated In- ni<^ht-fl)'inL,^ nioth.s general!)' ha\-e 
white or light-xcllow (lowers so as to be easily seen 
in twili_L;ht. 

One of the most interesting of these night-jiol- 
linati'd flowers is .V/Av/c nutans, the Xottingham 
catchll)'. In the (la\'time the five narrow petals 
are curled u|) and look dead and withered, but as 
night comes on the\' change their position, and the 
llower has the expanded shape of an alpine jjink. 
In this open condition it is \isited b\' the moths 
which, fl)ing from one flower to another, transfer 
the pollen, and thus accomplish at night what more 
freciueiitl}- occurs in the sunlight ; at daybreak the 
petals roll up once more, and one would again sup- 
pose the flower to he dead ; but no, it will continue 
to open at nightfall until some moth flnall)- suc- 
ceeds in pollinating its blossom. A small species 
of moth ' \isits this catchfl)' in order to deposit its 

' l'>iantluuiia alhiiiuutila. 



eggs ; these, by means of a ver)- long ovipositor, it 
places in the ovary, and in that somewhat inflated 


cavit}' the}' produce microscopic caterpillars which 
find shelter and nutriment in the stranre nest. 

rOfJJXATlOX j»7 

W'liLMi tlic caterpillars arrive at iiiaturit\- the\- 
escape by hitiiiL; a hole in the wall of the cajisule, 
and creeping" out, the\- seek for a suitable |)lace in 
which to turn to chr\sali(les. 

Scentless flowers usuall)' ha\c some equivalent 
form of attraction, such as honew brilliant ccjlour 
pollen in abundance, or the j^roupin^ of a number 
of small florets, in order to secure a conspicuous 
effect as in the ox-e\'e dais)-, or hedge parsley. 

Stront^ and \aried odours are great helps to 
ensure pollination b\- insects. The bee-tribe and 
moths and butterflies are specialh- attracted by the 
sw eet scents of roses, \iolets, carnations, ajid sweet- 
peas, and the j^owerful odour emitted bj- such 
flowers as the eNenini; primrose, tobacco, and night- 
llowering rocket as evening comes on tends to 
guide the nocturnal moths to these and similar 
flowers. An odour ma\-, of course, be pleasant to 
an insect which to us would be simpl\- intolerable. 
The arum of the hedges, and those curious plants, 
the aristolochias and stapelias, all emit scents of 
the most fietid description, as we think, but flies, on 
the contrar}-, are attracted b\- thousands, and 
hold api^arentl}' joN'ous re\els in the blossoms 



which the}- are pollinatin*^' b)- their frequent 

STAFF 1. 1 A. 

A Httlc care and patience in watchinL,^ the visits 
of insects to different flowers will soon be rewarded 

/'()/,/ /.V.I y/('.v 


In- a i)crci-i)li<>ii of ihc lastcs and likini^^s of insect 
life, aiul \\c sliall -raduall)- learn to e.\-i)ect to .sec 
certain insects on the llowers they speciall)- freiiuent. 
I would call attention to the interesting;- fact that 
if one aiienc)' fails to effect pollination, another is 
adojjted in order to attain the desired end. Thus, 
when the flowers of tiie 
common bartsia first open, 
the\- are \ isited b\- insects ; 
but, in the later sta<^es of 
flowerinL;-, the pollen is blown 
out b\' the wind, and the 
neighbouring; stigmas thus 
become pollinated. We see 
in the arrangement of the 
flower (jf the St. John's \\-ort 
(^Hypericuiii) a perfect t\'pe 
of this proxision against an\- 
possible failure of pollination. The stigma is sur- 
rounded by groups of stamens of unequal length ; 
those in the centre nearest to the stigma arc as long 
as the style it.self, whilst on the outside are 
short, and the.-e shed their pollen first, whilst those 
in contact with the stigma shed their contents 



last. Thus we find that if insects fail to effect 
cross-pollination by means of the short and early 
opened stamens, it is secured by means of the 
longer stamens whose anthers are in close contact 
with the stigma. Again, when we stand under a 
sycamore tree, we may see that the green tassel-like 
flowers are having their pollen dispersed both by 
wind and bees. 

We cannot draw hard-and-fast lines in nature, 
for although a special end may be kept in view, the 
various means and adaptations by which it is 
attained are a continual source of admiration and 
wonder to the reverent student of nature. 

We have already seen that there are all kinds of 
devices by which the pollen of one flower may be 
made sure to reach the stigma of another ; but, if 
by any means this crossing fails, if the weather is 
such that insects are scarce, or other conditions 
cause failure, then, in the case of many flowers, 
most curious contrivances are provided to secure 
seed by self-pollination. Triil)' this is one of the 
most beautiful of God's wonders in floral construc- 
tion. One of the gems of my own flower garden 
is a lovely little Japanese toad-lily {'fricyrtis liirtii). 



In this Hcjucr there arc three stales which stancl 
well above the stamens ; the j)()iiits of the stj'lcs 
are bent over as in the plate, and the stii,nnatic sur- 
face L^rows mature before the anthers shed their 
pollen ; if, however, no insect \isits the flowers, pol- 
lination is effected in the following;- wa\'. The 
st)'les bend down and place their forked points in 
cUrect contact with the open anther-lobes (as shown 
in drawini;), the st\le assumini;' 
•dniost tlic form (jf a semi- 
circle. This is d(;ne very de- 
liberately, for it is often full}- 
a week before the act is com- 

I\)lhnation is effected in tropical countries not 
on!)' by insects of man}- kinds, but b\' the loxel}- 
tribes of humming-birds which abound in those 
reL,nons. Their slender, cur\ed beaks are specialK- 
adapted U) penetrate the honex'-laden fl(jwers w ilh 
lon^-tubed blossoms, which could onl)- be pol- 
linated by some such ay;enc)-. 

Those who are within reach of the Natural His- 
lor}- Museum at South KensinL;ton ma\- there see a 
gallery filled with exquisite specimens of humming- 

Sti;^tii<i iiilil Slitincti. 


birds, ai'ran*;"ed in cases, and some of the birds are 
shown as they appear in Wfc, hoverin^,^ over tropical 
flowers, drawin<^ hone)' from their hans^nng blossoms, 
and performinc;" the useful office of transferring; the 
pollen from one flower to another, thus ensurinj^ 
the fertilisation of the seed. 

I might go on multiplying examples of the 
various methods by which seed is rendered fertile, 
but perhaps enough has been said to show what 
hidden force exists in flowers to enable them to 
attain the end for which they mainl)- exist, namely, 
the perpetuation of their species by means of seed. 

Specimens to be obtained and compared \\ith 
the descriptions in this chajoter : — Buttercup flower, 
dog's mercury, hazel catkins, primrose flowers, 
male blossoms of pine trees in June, Nottingham 
catchfly, ox-eye daisy, bartsia, St. John's wort 
flowers, and Japanese toad-lily. 





" The men 
Whom Nature's works can chlirm, with Ciod Himself 
Hold converse." 


ciiArri'iR \'iii 


W'IXCj now considered some of the 
many wonderful arrans^ements by 
wliich the j)ollen of plants is dispersed, 
we will endeax'our b)' traciuL^ the course 
of the pollen-L^rains after they reach the 
stigma, to learn what is meant b\- the term " fertili- 
sation of the o\ules." These are the minute 
specks contained in the o\ar)- which are to become 
seeds, and b)- iTieans of which the plant will 
cx'cntually reproduce itself 

To the naked e}-e the )'ellow pollen we see on 
the anthers of flowers appears as small j^rains ; 
Init, when magnified, these grains are seen to be 
singularl)- beautiful, each little sphere having on 



its surface a chequered network and delicately 
sculptured patterns. 

The forms, too, are as varied as the ornamenta- 

Some plants have triangular grains, some oval- 
shaped and others many-sided. 

I have given a few examples, and would 


1 Morinn. 2 Colvn. 3 Coirroh'iihis. 4 Diiuitliuf. 5 Finns. 
I> Aliiiccd. 7 Hiiplitluiliiiinii. 

specially call attention to the pollen-grains of 
the Pinus tribe (fir-trees), to which I alluded in 
the last chapter. These are remarkabl}' buoyant, 
owing to the two little bladders with which they 
are furnished. 

Now we are going to watch this yellow dust 
performing its appointed office in the central 
organ of a flower. In order to do so we will take 





a white garden lily, and remove the petals, sepals, 
and stamens, leaving only the pistil, which, as 
shown in the drawing, consists of three parts, the 
club-like stigma, a very long style, and its base the 
ovary, which contains three cavities. In these 
last we see a number of small, colourless spore-like 
bodies termed ovules (from oviiiii, an egg), each 
consisting of an outer coat, and a mass of cells in 
the centre called the iiuccllus. 

An opening exists at one end 
of each ovule called the micropyle 
(meaning a little gate or entrance), 
and this opening leads down into 
the middle of the nucellus, where 
lies what we may call the life-prin- 
ciple, but what is known in botany 
as the embryo-sac. 
We need the aid of a microscope to enable us 
to see how the pollen exerts its influence upon the 

If we place a drop of very weak sugar and 
water upon a slip of grass, and sprinkle over it 
some pollen grains of the common white lily, 
then allowin<>" the slide to remain for a few 


I'l-h'Tifjs.rnoy i(;(> 

hours in a dark place, it will he fit for our 

When placed in the microscope we shall observe 
that man}' of the t^rains w ill ha\e thrown out lon<j^ 
thread-like tubes, and this is just what happens 
when pollen falls u|)on the \iscid stit^ma of the 
lil\-. keferriiiL;' to the section of a lil\' pistil we 
see that a pollen ^rain has rested on the stigma, 
and, excited into growth 1)\- the sweetish lluid 
which holds it there, it sends down a slender tube 
through the centre of the pistil, which is lined with 
a very delicate loose tissue of cells filled with 
starch, oils and food-materials. The pollen-tube 
is stimulated and fed b)- this nourishment stored 
up in the conductiuL!; tissue, and on it L;oes until, 
passing throui^h the micropyle, it enters the 
embryo-sac of one of the ovules, adheres to it, and 
renders it fertile. 

Only one ^rain is shown in the drawin<;' for the 
sake of clearness, but of each ovule is 
sought out and fertilised b\- a pollen-tube. With 
infinite \ariation this process takes j:)lace in e\'er\- 
flower, so that even the commonest weed affords 
evidence of the mar\ellous provisions made by 


an All-Wise Creator for the preservation of 

The time occupied by the passage of the pollen- 
tube varies considerably. In the fir tribe it takes 
nearly twelve months, in the hazel-nut and orchis 
it requires several weeks, whilst in many other 
plants the whole process is completed in a few 

One of the first results of fertilisation is a rapid 
withering of the style and flower ; the great end 
of the flowering period has been attained, and so 
without further expense of energy the bright petals 
die away. 

At the same time other external changes take 
place, which are obvious to every observer of 
nature. The lower end of the pistil, known as 
the ovary, begins its second growth, and in a short 
time swells into a large structure, the shape of 
which varies much in different species of plants. 
Finally, the ovary changes colour and develops 
other characteristics quite different from its 
former conditions. These characters have refer- 
ence to the distribution of its seeds, and in our 
chapter on fruits we shall learn something about 

i-i-:RTii.isA'no\' 20I 

the iiitcrcslin^ botanical sii^iiificancc of llic \arious 
hard and soft fruits, and sec how they all arise 
from fertilisation. 

Take, for exam()le, the flower of an ap|jlc 
immediately after fertilisation is effected. The 
petals fall off, the styles shrivel up and the ovary 
rapidly enlar<(es ; the tube of the calyx becomes 
fleshy, and finall}- the well - formed apple is 
produced. The change, however, does not end 
here ; in this sta<^e of development the little apple 
is bitter and is char<^ed with a vegetable acid. As 
the fruit <^rows on, however, this acid changes into 
sweet juice varying in flavour according to the 
species of apple. 

Now let us exainine the interior of the ovary 
and see what changes have arisen as a consequence 
of fertilisation. 

The egg cell which has received the pollen 
grain becomes filled with an embryo, whilst the 
thin deHcate coat of the ovule develops into strong 

The embryo is the first germ of the young plant 
that is to be. It is a tin)' speck indeed in its 
beginning, but deeply interesting to us when we 


realise that, because it possesses life, it will grow 
on and on, and result, according to its species, 
either in a j^lant but a few inches in height, or 
in a grand forest-tree which may give shelter 
to man and animals for hundreds of )-ears. 

The naked eye can scarcely trace any indica- 
tions of form in the embryo, but when dissected 
and examined with a lens it is seen to consist of a 
tiny plant, root, stem and leaves (cotyledons). 

The size of the embryo in comparison with the 
other part of the seed is a point w hich should be 

As the embryo develops it absorbs the special 
nutrient or reserve tissue that exists in all ovules ; 
a bean embryo, for example, rapid 1}' absorbs all 
the nucellus (jf the ovule, so that at length the 
seed-coats contains nothing but the embryo, the 
two cotyledons of which are thick and filled with 
stores of food for the first growth of the seed. 

I would advise students to plant a few broad 
beans in a little damp cocoa fibre, and carefully 
watch their growth. It is advisable to dissect 
these beans successively at different stages, so as 
to watch the de\'elo]jment of the radicle (root) and 

l-I:k'IH.IS.l I lOX 


|)liiimilc [}()un<4 leaf-bud . I'lacc the seed in what 
position \\x- may, llir racliclc will al\\a\s fiiKl its 
\\a\' down into the c-arth, wliiK- the |)lunuile obeys 
its \egctable instinct, and rises into the air. The 
enibr\-o of the castor-oil Ijean and that of the 
cocoa-nut do not, how'e\'er, use up all the nuU'itivc 
matter in tiie ovule as the broad bean does, so 


that when the seed is ripe we find inside it, not 
only the embr)-o, but also a quantit\- of cheesy 
matter known as albiunen, and seeds of this kind 
are hence c.dled alhiiminous, whilst peas, beans 
and hazel-nuts are classed as cx-albumiuoiis f with- 
out albumen). 

An interesting;" dexelopment consetjuent upon 


fertilisation is a t^rowth which occurs in some 
plants from the base of the ovule. The pretty 
red covering's of the seeds of the spindle-tree, and 
the bright berry-like structure on the seeds of 
the yew-tree are examples of this growth, which 
is known botanically as an aril (from anV/us, a 
wrapper). In the willows this aril is a very 


lovely covering of silky hairs, these serve to float 
the seeds on the atmosphere at every puff of 

The pretty lace-like covering on the nutmeg is 
another example of an aril, better known to us in 
the form of the fragrant spice called mace. 

The style, which in most plants dies as soon as 
the ovules are fertilised, is in other cases persistent, 


as in the licdi^c-climbcr called traxelicrs' jo)-. 
The white, feathery - lookin<^ seeds owe their 
special character to the persistint,^ st}les, which, 

after fertilisation, c^row into the bunches of fluff)' 
seeds, which hani:; in profusion on hedges in the 


I will conclude this chapter with a reference to 


a change of quite a different character. Not un- 

y /■.A'///./.s.i//().v J07 

frccjucntl)-, fertilisation results in the suppression 
cjf certain chambers in the ovar>', and in the 
consequent failure of the development of the 

A cross-section of a \'oun_L( oak (j\'ar\' shows a 
three-chambered structure, each cavity containinj^ 
two o\ules, so that the ovarj' in this stage contains 
six o\ules in three chambers. Soon after the 
act of fertilisation, one of the fertilised ovules takes 
the lead in growth, starves the other fi\e ovules, 
and, as it grows, pushes the j)artitions of the other 
chambers aside, and graduall\- tills ujj the whole 
interior, converting it into a one-celled structure. 
This change hajipens also in the birch ; its two- 
chambered ovar}' becomes one ; and in the lime, 
though at first it has a many-chambered o\ary, 
)-et in the ripened fruit there is rarel\- more than 
one to be found. 

In a few plants, changes of quite an opposite 
character take place. In the o\ar)' of the datura,' 
for instance, we find two cells ; after fertilisation, 
two false or spurious partitions are developed, 
dividing the original two-celled structure into four 

' Thorn-apple 


parts, and as a consequence we get a four- 
chambered fruit. The same change takes place 
in some of the pea family. 

Specimens to be observed : — Examine pollen 
grains, with lens or microscope, dissect white lily, 
flower-pollen on glass slide. Observe changes 
in growing apple, plant broad beans, castor-oil 
seeds, and maize ; examine spindle-tree berries 
{euonymus), yew-tree berries, willow .seeds, nut- 
meg, and mace ; travellers' joy (clematis), section 
of oak ovary in the pistillate flower. Examine 
birch catkins and lime-tree flowers. Datura seed- 



'' Here, as I steal alony tlie sunny wall, 
Where Autumn basks, with fruit empurpled deep. 
My pleasing theme continual prompts my thought ; 
Presents the down)- peach ; the shining plum ; 
The ruddy, fragrant nectarine ; and dark, 
Beneath his ample leaf, the luscious fig. 
The vine, too, here her curling tendrils shoots, 
Hangs out her clusters, glowing to the south. 
And scarcely wishes for a warmer sky.' 

Tamks TuOMSdN. 

cii.\iTi-:k IX 


w'c arc sliown a collection of delicious 
apples, pears, grapes, jx^aches and 
cherries, we form a very appreciative 
opinion of the use and function of fruit, 
hut that opinion is somewhat modified 
when we are shown a basket of po])p)'-hcads, 
acorns, the lis^ht downy seeds of the thistle, the 
small dry carpels of the buttercup or the winged 
fruits of the maple. We usuall\' ccjnnect the term 
fruit with some luscious ])roduct of the \'iner\- or 
kitchen-garden, and we ma\- include as such the 
brightly - coloured berries of the hawthorn and 
wild rose, which are so conspicuous on trees and 
hedges in autumn ; but if we examine the subject 


botanically we shall have to widen our ordinary 
conception of the term. 

There is probably no part of a plant so difficult 
to understand as its fruit, and this difficulty is due 
to those many changes which I described in my 
last chapter. A very general definition of fruit is 
that it consists of the ripened ovary, and this will 
be found to be correct in a great number of cases, 
but this term is not exactly wide enough to 
express the general formation of all fruit. In 
some cases it is composed of the ripened ovary with 
the parts of the stalk or the original flower, en- 
larged or incorporated in the structure of the fruit, 
but in other specimens we find the ovary, although 
present, very little enlarged, and playing but a 
minor part in the ultimate character of the mature 

No fact seems so emphatic to the observant 
botanist as that which upsets his artificial rules 
and classifications of plants and the parts of plants. 
We say, for instance, that fruit is the ripened ovary, 
and yet directly we leave our books and go out to 
study botany in the fields and woods, we find a 
large group of fruits perfectly innocent of any such 

Ih'l'IT 213 

.structure. The firs and pines have no or<,ran of 
this kind, and )'et their fruits are most imfiortant 
and extreniel}' interesting. Scarcely an)' jjart of a 
plant \aries so much in different species as the 
fruit does. Althcnigh leaves may be found of 
e\ery size and shape, they still have some general 
similarity of form, but we hasten to observe what 
an immense contrast there is between the huge 
Mitsa fruit fbanana) and that of the oak facorn), 
although the former is, compared to the latter, 
but a poor weakly plant. 

Again, let us note the difference between the 
cocoa-nut palm fruit, a nut, which with its outer 
husk is almost as large as a peck measure, and 
that of the St. John's wort or any other of our 
native wild flowers. 

These differences in size ha\e their counterparts 
in other directions. We generalh- think of fruits 
as being soft, lu.scious, and pleasant to the taste. 
Many fruits of delightful colour and texture are, 
however, bitter as gall, and possess highly noxious 
qualities. I well remember gathering a plateful of 
rich i)urple berries from a plant I discovered in 
one of m)' childish rambles and carrying them 


home as a great prize ; I was not a little disap- 
pointed when I learned that they were the 
poisonous fruits of the deadly nightshade ; their 
deceitful resemblance to plums, as well as the 
berries of the woody nightshade to red currants, 
make these two of our most dangerous native 

As offering very distinct contrasts to the above, 
we may note the dry membranous fruits of many 
of our forest-trees, the hard nuts of the hazel and 
walnut and the leather)' husk of tlie chestnut. 
Again, the shape of fruits is wondcrfull)' diversi- 
fied. We have round and oval apples, plums, and 
gooseberries ; the linear seed-pods of the cabbage, 
cauliflower, wallflower, peas and beans, and other 
plants in endless varieties of forms. 

There are contrasts again in the smooth surface 
of some fruits and the hairy coats of others w here 
the roughness is due to hooks, prickles and other 
contrivances. How different, too, is the airy 
pappus of the dandelion to those heav>' fruits 
which drop like stones and are to be found lying 
exactly beneath the branches where they have 

/■AT// 215 

I'hcsL- (lirfcrciices in external form are imiltiplied 
when we examine fruit more minutelw We shall 
tlieii fmd a useful (li\ i(lin_L( line in the manner in 
which fruits allow their seeds to escape. In one 
lar^e division the fruit when perfect!}' ripe splits 
open and allows the seed to fall out ; such fruits 
are termed dehiscent ('from dc/iisco, I gape). In 
the other division the fruit remains closed, and the 
substance of it must decay before the seeds can 
escape and grow ; these are classed as indehiscent 
(I gape not). Before referring to a few examples 
of each dixision we will endeaxour to distinguish 
clearly the various jxirts of a fruit and learn their 
proper botanical names. 

We must be careful not to confound the seed 
and the coats of the ovary ; the latter is termed the 
pericarp (peri, around, kafpos, a fruit). In some 
fruits this pericarp is developed into distinct coats, 
or layers. In a peach, for instance, the outer coat 
is rough and hairx', this is called the epicarp (i) (r//, 
upon, karpos, a fruit; ; the middle coat is the 
succulent delicious fruit, and is knoxvn as the meso- 
carp (2) (f/iesos, middle, karpos, fruit;, whilst the inner 
coat is the hard stone, or endocarp (3) {endori, within. 



karpos, fruit), and inside it lies the kernel, or true 
seed. As a type of a deliiscent fruit we may 
select a pea-pod ; here we get no division of the 
coats into distinct parts, the pericarp is dry and 
tough, and when perfectly ripe it bursts open, 
and allows the seeds to escape. 


It would be \'ery interesting to make a collection 
of various seed-vessels, and note the immense 
variety of ways in which the seeds find their way 
out of the dry capsules. A poppy-head, cam- 
panula and antirrhinum sprays, henbane, colum- 
bine, stramonium, and many other plants afford 
good examples. 


riic woody pear is the hard fruit of a New 
llolland plant which spHts open to release the 
seeds. The horse-chestnut is a conspicuous instance 
of a dehiscin<^ fruit, the rou<;h jjrickly j^art is the 
pericarp, and when the fruit is mature this splits 
open and allows the two large chestnuts (seeds) 
to escape. In the sweet- 
chestnut we get an alto- 
L^ether different structure. 
If we [jick up one of its spin}' 
burrs, we hold in our hand 
what is called in botan\' an 
involucre (from involucruni, 
a cover), that is, a number 
of bracts which have grown 
together and formed an 
outer case to the fruit. The 
acorn-cuj) is an inxolucre, and 
we may find other good examples in composite 
flowers and those of the umbellifera;. The small 
green whor! in which a daisy-flower is set is, there- 
fore, not a cal\x, but an involucre consisting of 
minute bracts grown together. The true fruit of 
the sweet-chestnut is enclosed in a mass of spin)' 

I'OIM'Y CAl'Sri.K. 



bracts, and thus differs entirel)- from the pericarp 
of the horse-chestnut ; if we uish to speak of it 
correctly we must call it either a cupule or in- 
volucre. We will now select a few examples of 
fruits that are indehiscent. 

On the outside of an 

orange we find the )'el- 
low coat of the pericarp, 
next to it is the white 
mesocarp, and inside is 
the juicy endocarp,^ in 
'\ which the seeds are em- 
bedded. When an orange 
] falls to the ground these 
different coats simply 
decay, and the seeds are 
aided in their efforts to 
grow by the succulent 
flesh of the fruit, which affords them moisture 
and nutriment. The hazel-nut is a fruit of 
another texture altogether. The hard shell is the 
pericarp, and the one or two seeds \\ithin it must 

' Strictly speaking, the endocarp of the orange is a thin memhrane. 
and the pulp grows from it and fills up the ovary cavities. 


remain cm loscd there until the shell (lec<i\ s and the 
kernels can L^crminate and become new j^lants. 

Ill the currant, i^ooseberr)', and date we find 
examples of indehiscent fruits with a sweet fleshy 
pericarp. In the date there is onl)' one seed in 
each fruit, and a curious thin cndocarp can be 
obserxed einelopin^^ the solitary seed. Many 
allied sjjecies," as well as the date, pcxssess this 
sweet jKMMcarp, which must decay in order to 
liberate the seeds, and in the case of succulent 
fruits the process is frequently assisted b}- the 
fruit-catini; birds. 

It may be well to draw attention to the very 
simple kind of fruit pos.sessed by the buttercup 
and other similar plants. It is a dry membranous 
pericarp, and inside one seed exists free from the 
pericarp ; this remains closed, like other forms of 
the indehiscent types, and technicall)- this fruit is 
known as an achene (from achnncs, not gaping), 
and it is well named, as it remains clcsed until 
decay enables the growing radicle to breakthrough 
the pericarp and enter the ground. The curious 
after-development of the strawberr)- fruit is worth 
a little careful stud)-. 


This flower is known as apocarpous (^Jpo, apart, 
karpos, fruit), consisting of a number of distinct 
ovaries each with one ovule ; these ovaries when 
ripe are exactly like the achenes of the buttercup, 
but they are developed upon a receptacle which, 
when fertilisation has taken place, begins to dilate 
and swell, with the result that the little achenes 
are gradually scattered over the surface of a large 
fleshy receptacle which, as it nears its time of per- 
fection, becomes of a most tempting crimson 
colour. The little seed-like dots we notice on the 
strawberry are distinct and perfect fruits embedded 
in a sweet succulent floral receptacle. Thus we 
find that the strawberry, speaking botanically, is 
not a berry, but a collection of achenes, the term 
" berry " being usually restricted to such fruits as 
the currant and gooseberry. For this reason the 
strawberry and the common fig are sometimes 
termed spurious fruits, for in these the soft pulpy 
flesh is really the receptacle and the little round 
so-called seeds are the true fruit. 

There is a very different formation in the pine- 
apple, since this fruit is the development of an 
entire spike of flowers ; these in their early stage 

rUTfT 221 

arc croudccl to^ctlicr on the flower stalk, but as 
time ^oes on they coalesce and fuse, with their 
ovaries, bracts, and receptacles, into a succulent 
mass, the various parts of which can be well defined 
if we cut a section through a pineapple before it 
is quite ripe. 

This chapter may fittingly conclude with a brief 
reference to the ultimate purpose of these varied 
forms and textures of fruit, for that they each have 
their special work, and that there is a meaning" for 
every form, is a truism we may accept without 
doubt. The fruit is in reality the storehouse for 
the seeds, the latter bein*^ the vital part of the 
plant. If we review the life-history of a plant, 
first its producing flowers, then the special and 
intricate processes of pollinaticjn and fertilisation, 
and subsequentl)' the growth of that wonderful 
little i^art, the ovule, into a seed, and further if we 
reflect that the whole strength of the plant has 
been concentrated on producing that seed, we 
shall then comprehend the true significance of 

The seed is first stored up in the recesses of the 
ovary ; clearly then the ovary, which subsequently 


becomes the fruit fpericarp), is intended to protect 
the seeds, and it is interesting to note some of the 
various ways in which this protection is afforded. 
Take first the soft and sweet fruits so plentiful in 
the autumn ; this edible sweet flesh is not deve- 
loped until the seeds are quite ripe. All through 
the period of growth and ripening the pericarp 
is hard or stringy or it may be also sour or acid. 
This is especially true of hedgerow fruit, such as 
crab-apples, sloes, and wild pears, texture and juice 
alike affording complete protection. 

Again, such fruit as the walnut and chestnut 
are protected by their rough covering and hard 
shells, and many others have their outer coats 
covered with prickles and spines for the same 
reason. The most extreme case is perhaps that 
of MucHua pruriciis, a leguminous climber found 
in the tropics ; this has downy pods not unlike 
those of a sweet-pea, and these pods are covered 
with brownish hairs which, if incautiously touched, 
enter the pores of the skin and cause a most 
intolerable irritation ; a truly formidable protec- 
tion this to the seed. 

Let me now point out how the seed is protected 

/•AT// 22^ 

in some of the |)iii(j fainil)- ffirs), where there is 
IK) j)ericar|). Duriii^^ the i^routli and devehjpmeiit 
of tlie pine seeds, the woorly cone is rich in resin, 
and should an enterprising; niithatcli try to peck 
out the seeds, lie finds his beak covered w ith the 
resin and his effort baffled. 

Protection is also afforded to the seed b)- the 


movements of fruit after fertilisation, and of this 
the cyclamen flower affords a i;"ood illustration. 
As soon as fertilisation has taken place the flower 
stalk coils up like a w atch-sprinL;. and the seed- 
pod is thus placed safeh' beneath the leaves to 

In crevices of old walls we ma}- often find that 


charming little wilding, the ivy-leaved toad-flax ; 
it has a highly intelligent method of protecting 
its seeds. When the flower is fertilised its stalk 
bends its point round to the wall, and places the 
tiny ovary in a cranny of the brickwork to 
mature and ripen its seeds. These are but two 
instances, out of hundreds, of plants whose fruits 
are protected by what we call instinctive move- 

It is of essential importance to young seedlings 
that they should have sufficient soil, light, and air, 
to ensure their healthy growth. To begin life 
cHrectly under the leaves of the parent plant is 
to court failure and starvation, and so we find 
in the fruit that wonderful provisions are made 
to ensure the dispersion of the seed when it leaves 
the parent plant, and so endless are the con- 
trivances for the dispersion of fruits and seeds, 
that it will be needful to devote the next chapter 
entirely to that subject. 

Objects to collect and examine : — Compare 
various fruits, fir-cone, banana, acorn, seeds, and 
berries, &c. Examine a peach and pea-pod. 
Collect seed-vessels, horse-chestnut, sweet-chestnut, 

IRIIT 225 

dais^'-llowrr, oraiv^c, hiizcl-iiiil, tldtc-fruil, straw- 
berry, |)inca|)i)k'. 

Observe seed coverings, pine-cones, cyclamen 
stems after flowering, seed capsules of i\y-lea\ed 
toad-llax in wall crevices. 





' Whu t^ave the thistle's ft-ather'd seed its plumes, 
That wing-like waft it on each gentle breeze 
To sterile yet to it congenial soils, 
Investing them with purple beauty, rife 
With fragrant treasures for the wild bees' store ? " 

T. L. Meritt. 


I)Isim:rsi()\ ()V KRrrrs axd sf.kds 

PURI'OSK ill this chapter to explain 
some of the man}- remarkable \\a\'s in 
which plants are enabled to scatter 
their fruits and seeds. The chief agen- 
{y cies which assist in carrj'ing out this purpose 
are wind, animals, birds, running water, and 
moisture in the atmosphere. We shall find that 
man\- seeds are furnished with certain outgrowths 
and ])eculiarities which are sj)eciall\' adapted to 
the action of these agencies, with the result that 
such seeds .are distributed far and w idc. We will 
first examine some of those fruits which are scat- 
tered by animals ; this end is generall)- attained 
by means of hooks and cur\ed spines on the outside 
of the fruit. 



Perhaps one of the most remarkable instances of 
this class is the seed-pod (or capsule) of the Mar- 
t}'nias. Durini,^ the \isit of the Prince of Wales to 
India, a panther killed in one of the shooting 
excursions was found to have quantities of long- 


hooked seeds attached to his skin: these must have 
been brushed from a plant of M ariyiiia proboscidea, 
which has sharp curved horns three or four inches 

Another species called by the Italians Testa di 

niSI'I-RSIOX OF /•AT/ys .I.W) SKKDS 231 

Quaglia, or (|u;iirs head, sows itself in a similar 
manner 1)\' clinL^inq; to mo\in<( objects. 

Man)- common hedj^erow ])lanls have their fruits 
armed with quite formidable hooks, so that creepiuLj 
or fl)-iii^ creatures may be made unwittinj^l)' the 
means (^f distributing^ the fruits. The burdock 
is a most persistent plant in this respect, each 
of its numerous fruits bein^ covered with lon<^ 
hooks which successfull\- retain their hold of our 
clothiiiLj if we happen to brush i^ast the plant when 
covered with its troublesome burrs. Other exam- 
ples are the rough seeds of the forget-me-not, 
agrimon)', enchanter's nightshade — a great pest in 
gardens- and all the bedstraw tribe. 

These plants, we ma)' obserxe, are low-growing 
and herbaceous, quite distinct in the matter of 
]X)siti()n from the tall trees and shrubs which de- 
])en(l upon the w ind to scatter their seeds. 

We are all familiar with the winged fruits of the 
sycamore ; the)' are to be seen in earl)' autumn. 
The clusters are first of a pale green, and then the 
seeds ' often attain a flush of pale crimson which 

' In hotany the fruit of the sycamore, maple, ash, \c., is called a 
sainara, anil is properly speaking a winged (xcheiie. 


adds much to the picturesque beauty of the tree. 
The equinoctial gales separate the seeds from 
their stalks, and awa)' the)' go far and wide, borne 
up b}' the delicate membrane attached to the seed 
^\'hich catches the wind, and is carried by it to a 
great distance from the parent tree. In the same 
wa}' the winged ke}'s of the ash, being ver)' light, 
are borne b}' the autumn gales to strange habitats, 
so that the tree may often be found growing on 


Xnt::i-al Size. Mailnificd. 


church towers, in ruins, and on crags inaccessible 
to man. 

The pinus tribe of trees have seeds with wings 
lightl)' twisted so that, if we hold up a dr)- fir- 
cone, the seeds descend from it with a whirling 
motion like small shuttlecocks. 

The winds which blow strongly in mountainous 
places carry these seeds before them, and are thus 
ever renewing the pine-forests by sowing the pro- 

Disi'KRsiox or FRrns axd seeds 233 

ducts of their cones on hare tracts of land. The 
liL,ditest of all tree seeds is that of the birch ; it is 
gifted with two winL;s or nicnihranes, so that it 
floats in the air before the lij^htest breeze, and this 
ma\' account for tlu- widt' distribution of the tree 
which has been found l; rowing; from Mount Mtna 
to Iceland and Greenland. I ma)' i^ive an instance 
of a common which, twent)- }'ears ae^o, was co\ercd 
onl)' b\- fur/.e, broom, and brake-fern ; about four- 
teen )-ears since, a shower of birch seed must have 
been strewn over the j^round, and now it has be- 
come a wood, shuttiuL^ out the distant \iews and 
quite alterinsT the character of the land.scape. 

The wind again is the agency for the dispersion 
of the seeds of such plants as the common ground- 
sel ; here it ma\- not be iminteresting to note the 
beautiful pro\ ision made in regard to the buoyanc\- 
of the seeds. These winged structures which the 
wind so lightl)' blows into the air must attain a 
certain altitude from which the\' can be success- 
full)- launched, and therefore we fmd that a large 
class of low-growing plants ha\e their seeds fur- 
nished with accessories in the form of light silky 
down or hairs. 



Most of the plants known as conipositir have 
their seeds thus feathered, and amongst them are 
those plagues of the farmer, the thistle, dandelion, 
goat's-beard and others. The dandelion may serve 
as our example, and I would advise my readers to 


watch carefully the variations of position in the 
flowering stems. Whilst the flower is still fully 
expanded the stalk remains in an upright position 
so that it is conspicuous and likely to attract 
the notice of insect visitors. After the florets 
are fertilised it gradually lowers itself until it 

Disi'FRsiox or FRrris .ixn si-:i-:ns 

lies f)n tlic ^M'f)un(l under the leaves for a period 
of ten or tueKe da\s. DiirinL,^ this time the 
sced-\-essel matures and ripens, then the stalk 
rises to the erect jjosition once more, anrl the 
beautiful downy L;iobe expands into a soft fluffy 


ball i)f seeds hani^int^ so loosel)' that the first 
breeze carries them away, and their descent into 
the ground is curious!}- provided for. i^ersons ha\e 
sometimes alighted on the earth from a balloon b)' 
means of a parachute, a machine which closel)' 
resembles an open umbrella w ith a car at the lower 



end. Now the dandelion seed descends in a similar 
manner, touching the ground first with its lower 
end, the weight of the seed enabling it to drop into 
some hole in the soil, and the S[)in}' projections at 
the upper end preventing the feather}- part of the 

goat's hkard. 

seed from dragging it out again. The common 
goat's-beard is perhaps the uK^st beautiful English 
example of fruit with a downy pappus. A single 
flower will produce a sphere as large as a cricket- 
ball, and each seed is furnished with a starlike 

/;/.s7'/:a's7().v or I'h'nrs .wd shkds 237 

crown of br. inched feathers which the wind can 
bear aw.i\' to a consideraljle th'slance. 

Ihe hcnulsonie willow-herb, which adds so much 
colour and beautv' to our ri\er banks, bears its seed 
in lunj^, narrow p(jds, and these, when ripe, split 
up into five se^tncnts which, curling back as they 
open, leave the down)' seeds free to be carried off 
b\- the passing; breeze. 

Hird ai^rcncy in seed dispersi(jn is a most inte- 
resting; subject, and one can but admiie the wonder- 
ful way in which the services of wini^ed creatures 
are made available. 

Succulent berries and sticky fruits are hii^hly 
attractive to man)' kinds of birds, and whilst they 
re\'el upon the sweet, soft flesh of the berr)', the 
seeds which they swallow with it are enabled to 
resist the action of dii^estion b)' a hard covering 
which protects the kernel until the shell shall 
deca)" and allow the seed to germinate. In this 
way 1 find m)' garden in early spring quite thickl)- 
strewn with the seeds of the Irish ivy, always a 
favourite food of the common wood-pigeon which 
is so frequentl)' to be heard cooing in my woods. 
The seeds of atpiatic plants (jften cling to the 


feathers of birds that visit pieces of inland water, 
and are widely distributed by them in their flight 
from one lake to another. 

Darwin has shown by careful experiment that 
the mud clinging to the feet of various birds almost 
always contains seeds. A wounded partridge had 


a ball of earth weighing six and a half ounces 
adhering to its legs. From this earth Darwin 
reared no less than eighty-two separate plants of 
five distinct species. Seas and rivers also do their 
part in dispersing seeds. The huge nuts of the 
Cocos-dc-mcr palm, which grows only upon the 

Disrr.Rsiox or i-ri'its .ixd seeds 239 

Seychelles Islands, are often thrown upon \ery 
distant shores. Tins luit is said to take ten 
years to come to perfection ; it is e.\ceedin<,dy 
hard, and sometimes weii^hs as much as forty 
pounds. I'he common cocoa-nut is often found 
growinij^ on the shores of coral and cither islands 
in the Pacific Ocean, and owes its position there to 
the buoyant nature of the nut, which floats un- 
injured in the sea until it finds a restiny;-place and 
a home on some atoll or island. In this \va\' the 
cocoa-palm has spread to such an extent that it is 
now perhajxs the only palm common to the wes- 
tern and eastern hemispheres. West Indian seeds 
and fruits have even been thrown upon the Nor- 
wegian coasts, and, but for the unsuitability of the 
climate, there is little doubt that tropical trees and 
plants might sometimes be found growing e\en so 
far north. It is (jbvious that the seeds of all 
vegetation on the banks of rivers, small ruiuiing 
streams and lakes, must be liable to very wide 
distribution. Darwin made main' interesting ex- 
periments as to tile length u[ time seeds could 
retain their \italit}' when floating in fresh or salt 
water. Ripe hazel nuts germinated after being 


ninety days in water. An asparagus plant with 
mature berries, when dried, floated for eighty-five 
days, and the seeds afterwards grew vigorously. 
Out of ninety-four plants experimented upon, 
eighteen floated for more than a month and some 
for three months, their germinating power not 
being destroyed. In quite a large number of 
species the plants themselves possess the means 
necessary to distribute the seed. It is true the 
distance traversed by each seed may not be great, 
but it is sufficient to give the seed a new field of 
growth. This power varies in different species. It 
is perhaps best defined as elastic force, and in the 
majority of cases the seed is actually thrown away 
from the parent plant by the expenditure of this 
force. The seed-pod is generally m a state of 
tension, due to the gradual drying up of the 
tissues. Then a puff of wind, a slight blow, or 
even a change in the atmospheric condition of the 
air, gives the final impetus, causing the pod to 
burst with such force that seeds are throvvai out in 
all directions. The fibro-vascular cords are often 
found crossing the pod in an oblique direction, or 
even in a spiral manner, so that fin all}-, as the)' 

/)/,s/'/:a'.s7().v ()/■ lurrrs Axn seeds 241 

slu)rtrii lhr()ui;h (Ir)'iicss, the)' act ii|)on the walls 

of the k\L;uinc and we sec the result in such dried 

pods as thfjse of the sweet j)ea, hrooin, and 


The pans)- has a thrce-\-al\-ed seed-pod, and as 

it dries the cd<jes of the valves press upon the 

polished, hard-shellcd seeds and they arc sfjuirted 

out with a jerk to a distance of se\eral feet. I 

was once ijreatl)' puzzled by a strani^e, cracklinfr 

sound in my room, and after a few minutes' search 

I disco\'ered it was causer! b}' a fusillade of pans)' 

seeds striking at^ainst the sides of a small box in 

which I had placed the capsules to ri|)en. It is 

worth)' of notice that the capsule hangs down to 

protect the seed-valves from rain ; but when the 

seeds are matured the capsule rises to an upright 

position so that the)- ma)- l)e projected far and 

wide. A conspicuous example of the elastic force 

of which 1 ha\e s|)oken is seen in the British 

balsam, I iitpaticiis Xoli-iiic-tangcrc ftouch-me-not). 

When its seeds are mature, the vaKes of the 

capsule curl up in a spiral form with such force as 

to i)roject both themselves and the seeds through 

the air man)- feet from the plant dropping the 



seeds b}' the \va}-. On a hot summer's day one 
may hear the dispersion of seeds ! The furze and 
broom pods, the sweet j:)eas, and especially fir tree 
cones, make quite a loud report as the)' split and 


scatter their contents. The tension causing these 
explosions is in some cases brought about hy the 
fluids inside the fruit. This is the case with the 
squirting cucumber, which, when fully ripe, is so 

/)/.s7'/;a's7().v ()/• /A'/v/s .\xn s/-:i:ns 343 

distended with fluids that the sh\L(litcst touch or 
movement is sufficient to cause it to break away 
from its stalk, and then the whole contents are 
ejected with threat force, so that the seerl is thrown 
some (h'stance. The extent of dispersion is \ery 
hinited in those pkints that are dependent upon 
the varyiuij moisture of the air. Such plants arc 
usually furnished with special awn-like ' appen- 
dages ; these are h)-^roscopic -' in their nature, and 
the difference in the amount of moisture in the air 
len.L^thens and contracts these apparent!}- ino\in^ 
organs. When the seeds fall from an ear of barley 
thc\- lie thickl}' strewn around the bottom of the 
stem, and, were they to take root there, they inust 
inevitabl)- choke each other ; but each awn is 
thickl)- set with bristles, and as the morning sun 
shortens and the evening dew lengthens the hair- 
like awn. the ])rick]es onl\- allow the awn to move 
in one direction, and the seed which is attached to 
it is slow!}- but surel\- drawn man\- inches awa\'. 
What is [)opularl\- called the dancing oat is another 
curious example of this h)-grometric property. If 
a dr\' seed (or oatj is placed for a moment in 

' The l)ear(l of corn. - .Sensitive to moisture. 


water, and then laid on a smooth table, it will be 

seen to wave its long horns as if they were the 

nisi'ih'su)\ or ik'iiis axd sei:i>s 245 

antciin.L of an insect, and U) turn nwv aiul (act 
until it has progressed some inches from the |)(jint 
where it was tlrst |)lace(l. In .Ivciia rA/AvUhe tall 
oat grass) and S///^it piiDiiilit the awns are bent 
sharp!)' just as they emeri^e from the flowers, the 
part below the bend beiiiL,^ like a corkscrew and 
highly sensitive to moisture, relaxing and con- 
tracting according to the am(Huit of moisture in 
the air, with the result that the seed travels along 
the ground. By the help of the long awn it can 
pass over small obstacles, such as stones or clods, 
the m<nement resembling that of a lever. 

I must here guard my readers against th(jse 
movements that are caused by some insect lar\a. 
The so-called jumjjing bean imported from Mexico 
is now so well known that it may be taken as a 
type of these curious movements due, not to the 
seed itself, but to the efforts of an im|)risoned 
insect, the grub of a small moth which jjasses its 
larxal stage inside the hard-shelled seed of a kind 
of euphorbia. 

In conclusion, we may glance at a small group 
of plants that develop sticky glands for the pur- 
poses of dispersion. 


That charming Alpine plant Lhimea borcalis 
has a pair of bracts closely adherent to the fruit 
and these bracts are covered with stalked glands 
of a stick)' nature, so that when an animal, bird, 
or e\en a passing moth brushes against the little 
fruits they stick to the intruder and are thus borne 
awa)^ Now it may perhaps occur to the thought- 
ful reader that the Linna^a seed-vessel, being part 
of a growing plant, w^ould not readily break off 
with a slight touch, but it is another instance of 
that consummate skill and arrangement that is so 
apparent to the close observer. In the stalk of the 
little fruit there is a special separating layer ^ 
(analogous to that of the falling leaf which we 
noted in a previous chapter), and at this point the 
fruit readily separates if the slightest pressure is 
brought to bear upon it. This example is typical 
of what takes place in such plants as Salvia 
gluti)iosa and Plumbago capcnsis and Rosea. As a 
contrast to these various modes of dispersion I 
may mention those seed-vessels which are actually 
buried by the plants themselves, such as the 
ground-nut, ivy-leaved toadflax, and others. We 

' Called bolanically an "absciss layer." 

Disrr.u'slox or lurirs axd seeds 247 

must bear in iniiul lliat these plants usually have 
aerial flowers in addition to those matured under- 
j;roun(l, and that these aerial flowers produce fruits 
which are subject to dis|)ersion. We p.ia\' theref(jre 
C(Jiiclude that the uiider_L;roLuul seeds are to ensure 
the continuance of the jjlant when the (ordinary 
methods have perhafjs partially failed. My 
readers may each autumn find an endless source 
of wonder and interest in the thousands of differ- 
iuL,^ fruits and seed-vessels which may be obtained 
in any hedi^^erow and field ; and b\- careful obser- 
vation the)' ma\' yet learn man\- new facts and be 
ever addini;" to their store of knowledge by gather- 
ing and comparing the fruits and their dispersion, 
as shown in the types sketched in this chapter. 

Objects to collect and examine :— Fruits and 
seed-\essels of martxnia, burdock, forget-me-not, 
agrimony, enchanter's nightshade, bedstraw, samara 
of sycamore, ash-ke\s, pinus seeds, birch seeds, 
dandelion and goat's-beard seeds, pods of sweet- 
pea, broom, laburnum, and pansy. Seed-vessels of 
balsam, wild uat, feather-grass, Liinuca borealis, 
salvia, plumbago, ground-nut, and ivy-leaved 

CHAni'.R XI 

(jHKMIXA tjox 


O Source unseen of life and light, 
Thy secrecy of silent mi^ht 

If we in bondage know, 
Our hearts, like seeds beneath the ground, 
By silent force of life unbound, 

Move upward from below." 

T. T. Lynch 

ciiapti<:r XI 


AVIXG ctjiisidered the j)rocesscs which 
lead up to the formation of seed, we 
ma\- now investigate the h'fe-history of 
seed and its various forms. 
Like fruits, seeds differ much in their 
outward shape. In size alone we find a threat 
contrast between the flust-like seeds of the (jrchids 
and the huije seeds of the cocoa-nut-palm, while 
between those two extremes we may note every 
gradation of size. In other respects, also, the seed 
offers no less variety of form and covering than 
the fruit, such variations having relation to the 
particular mode of dispersion and germination. 
The outer skin or coat of a seed, called the testa, 
offers a very interesting field of study, and such 
seeds as the popp)' and siloic with beautiful net- 



work, the bigiiotiia and pintts with membraneous 
wings, the cotton-plant seed with long hairs, and 
the Lollo)nia with hairs that are resolved into 
mucilage when wetted, are all worth special study. 
When a small portion of colloniia seed is moistened 
and placed in a microscope one may see the rapid 
change being effected ; that which had been a hard 


dry atom suddenly throws out coils of gum, like 
watch springs, and a novice is led to ask, "Is the 
thing alive ? " so full of motion does the object 

We may regard a seed under various aspects. 
As a special means of continuing the life of a 
plant, one of its modes of reproduction, as a special 
means of tiding a plant over a season that would 

CFh'MlX.niOX 253 

be fatal to its life in its ordinary condition of 
leafage, in the seed we ha\e the germ of the future 
plant, a rc-production of its jjarent. This germ or 
eml)r\(» is lethargic or hibernating like main- 
animals which exist throughout the winter in a 
dormant condition, )'et still continue to be living 
vital bodies waiting for some sjjecial influence t<j 
come into |)la)-, and read}- to resume all the acti\ity 
of a growing organism. The construction of a 
seed is simple ; inside the coat or ^cs^a we find 
the embrx'o with or without a special supply of 
albumen ; if the seed is ex-albuminous, then we 
may expect to meet with thick, fleshy seed-leaves 
especiall)' stored with this substance. The embr)o 
contains all the essential parts of the plant, the 
root, stem, and leaves ; the root in the seed state 
is called the radicle, and is that part of the embrj-o 
which usuall)- points towards the microp\le ; this 
radicle forms one end of the first shoot which 
comes out of a seed, the other end terminating in 
the stem or plumule. This first shoot is known by 
three names — axis, tigcllitm, or h)'pocotyle. The 
tii^cllnui in man\' plants gives rise to a special 
structure ; thus in the c\-clamcn it forms the tuber, 


and the greater part of the " roots " of radishes 
and turnips is due to it. In other instances it is 
a mere collar forming a sHghtly thickened surface 
between the base of the cotyledon and the radicle. 
The tigclluDi is in realit}' a centre of growth, as 
may easil)' be shown b)' cutting off an inch of the 
upper part of a well-grown carrot and placing the 
slice in a saucer of water ; before long a crown of 
young leaves will spring up and will continue to 
grow and flourish as long as the plant food 
contained in the slice is sufficient to maintain the 
leafage. In botanical language we have thus been 
growing carrot leaves from this tigellnni. 

The embryo varies very much in the relative 
position of its parts. Thus the embryo of the 
reed-mace is straight in the tigclhim of the em- 
bedding albumen. In contrast to this is the curved 
embryo of the deadly nightshade and the spiral 
embryo of the hop. 

The seeds of the orange often contain two em- 
bryos, which is rather a rare occurrence in the vege- 
table world. Before we can trace the future of these 
parts we must attain a clear idea of the change 
the seed undergoes when it germinates. In the 


whole of our studies our attention has been drawn 

to no process so decj^ly interesting and )ct so 

mysterious as that of tlie breaking; into \\(e of the 

seed. There are three conditions that |)roniote the 

process of ijcrmination : warmth, moisture, and 

air. When these three 

conditions are present and 

the seed is health)', <^rowth 

bej^ins, and its first stage 

is the absor[)tion b)- the 

seed of moisture ; this, 

combined with warmtli 

and the oxygen of the air, 

sets up a change in the 

contents of the seed. We 

have alread)' seen that 

seeds are of a (ir\- and 

starch}- nature, aiul in this 

condition they are in- "' "■'"■'• '-^""<^" «>'-'"^^>>"f='^- 

soluble and unfit to be active plant food. The 

change that ensues results in this starch}- matter 

being converted into sugar which is soluble ; then 

the parts of the embr}o begin to unfold, first the 

radicle and finall}- the plumule are developed. 


In this earl)' stage these parts Hve entirely upon 
the contents of the seed, just as a j'oung chick is 
developed and nourished upon the albumen of the 

The temperature requisite for germination varies 
according to the species ; those of us who possess 
gardens know to our cost at what a low tempera- 
ture such plants as chickweed, bittercress, ground- 
sel, and some of the speedwells grow ; as long as 
the thermometer is above freezing-point these 
troublesome weeds will make their appearance in 
our flower borders. Sach's experiments on germi- 
nation tend to show that wheat and barley begin 
to grow below five degrees centigrade, whilst 
French beans and maize germinate at nine degrees 

Some plants start into growth very quickly. 
Garden cress, vegetable marrows, and some grasses 
appear above ground a few da)'s after they are 
sown, whilst other seeds, enclosed in a hard, woody 
seed-case, will require twelve months to germinate. 
This was the case with a seed taken out of a cedar 
cone brought from Mount Lebanon ; I xainl)' 
watched for the j'oung plant, and when a )'ear had 

Chh'MlXATlOX 3:^7 

passed \)y the |)<)i was thrown a'>i(lc nn a iiihWish 
hca|). Sliortlx' after 1 was passiiiL^^ by ami obscrxecl 
a fir-C()t)'le(l()ii j^rowiuL;' on the lieap, and this 
|)ro\c(l to be- the lonL;"-desired \'oun<j ce(lar-|)lant. 

Seeds ha\e the power to retain their \ italit)' for 
\'ears, especial 1\' those of the Li\s;iiininosic, but I 
beliex'e the stories of ICLij'ptian mumm\' wheat 
i;erminatinL;" are scarce!)' to be belie\ed. A L,fOod 
object-lesson u|)on tliis subject is furnished by a 
newl\'-made railw a\' cuttini^- ; here we may alwax's 
find ;j;"rowinL; upon the freshl\'-turne(l soil quite a 
crop of plants which ha\e sprunL,^ from seeds that 
in the course of )'ears ha\e become embedded in 
the earth, it ma)- be at s(^ threat a depth as to 
l>reclude the admission c^f air or pre\cnt one of 
the necessary conditions of Ljermination. When, 
however, the underla)-er of soil is broui^ht to the 
surface and exi^osed to liijjht, air, and moisture, the 
seeds are able to grow. 

To this we owe the richness of our railway-bank 
flora, and man)- a rare plant ma)- be discovered 
there which cannot be found elsewhere in the 
neighbourhood. We will wow in imagination 
conduct a few simple experiments that we may 




learn something of the behaviour of seeds during 
their early stages of growth. Each seed that we 
thus stud}' ma\' be regarded by us as a type of 
many others. First, then, we will sow, in a few 
pots, about a dozen broad beans ; before doing so 
we ma)' notice on the seed the black stripe or 

Soil Ic-vd. -._. 


ridge known as the /a'/uw ; this is the scar showing 
where the seed was attached to the pod, and at 
one end of it is the micropyle (small gate). If we 
remove the skin of the seed we shall observe the 
two fleshy cotyledons or .seed leaves, a tiny point 
which is the rudimentary root, and, lying close to 
the inner face of the cotyledon, the slightly curved 



pluimilc. AftiT the beans had been sown a few 
(la\'s and carcfull}' watered, we mav take u\) two 
or three for examination. At first we ma\' oid\' 
see the radicle just eniert^in;^ from the h'ttle hole 
at the end of the /////////, l)iit if we wait, say, ei<,rht 
or nine dax's, we shall L(et a further de\elopment. 
lieforc dij^^int^ up our seed we will see if any 
others arc pccj:)in^ through the soil. \'cs, here is 
one, just an arched kind of shoot, no leaves, only 
the bow of the arch pushing- up the particles of 
the soil, so that the |)oint of the shoot is clearly 
still below the i^round. Now, takini; uj) a seed we 
notice that the radicle has penetrated some wa)' 
down into the soil, and with a pocket lens we arc 
able to see a little higher than the tip of the ro(jt 
cjuitc a crop of delicate little ro(;t-hairs. The 
cotN'ledons are still enclosed in the toui^h skin, but 
the u[)ward L;row th of the //\'v7///;// is actinL,^ on 
them like a le\'er, and we can now j)lainly see that 
it is this tii^rlliiui that, b\' its upward i;rowth. is 
penetrating^ the soil, and in so doini;' is drawing 
the cotyledons from the seed coat. All this time 
the delicate plumule is kept out of daivj^er b\' the 
arched shape of the tigellum and the folding of the 


cot)'ledons. Lea\int( our seeds for a day or two 
longer we find a further change. The j^kunule 
has been carried up beyond the soil-level and has 
begun to expand into leafage. It is interesting to 
note how the curved tigcllnm, jDushing through the 
soil first, effectually guards the plumule from 
injur)' arising from contact with rough particles 
of earth ; the cotyledons remain just below the 
soil-level and wc see that the tigellnin is thicken- 
ing and forming a distinct connecting branch 
between the new shoots and the fleshy seed leaves ; 
these latter are full of plant food, and the jjlumule 
is supplied from this storehouse of nutriment imtil 
the first lea\es are formed and are able to de- 
compose carbon-dioxide for the nourishment of 
the plantlet. The seed-leaves in this case do not 
perform this function, but act simply as store- 

Our next seed example will be the familiar 
mustard plant. These we may sow in two lots, 
the first we only need to sprinkle upon some fine 
soil and the second may be sown in a shallow drill 
and covered with fine earth. 

The first sowing will quickl)- germinate, and the 

f;/:AM//.V.I77().V 261 

inoxciiiciil of the radicle which |)uslics oiil of the 
niicr()|j\le nia\- be uiulerstotKl by reference to the 
appended diagram. In it ue see the white threarl- 
hke radicle emerj^ing from the seed coat ; it turns 
very cjiiickK' towards the ground and pushes 
directly into the soil. Mere I must direct my 
readers' attention to one tjf those minute arrange- 
ments whicli, though apparently insignificant 
enough if we fail to study the context, is real!)' 
an e\idence of the infinite perfection, care, and 

(;KoWlN{; .MrsTAK'l) skkos. 

wisdom of the Creator in even such a tiny detail 
as the si)ringing up of a mustard seed. As the 
seed lies upon the ground, the lengthening radicle, 
while it j)enetrates the ground, has a tendenc)- to 
force the seed into the air (as shown in the illustra- 
tion), and were it allowed to do so the seedling 
would soon shrivel up and die. This catastrophe 
is, however, averted by the development upon the 
radicle of c|uite a crop of fine white root-hairs; adhere closely to the minute particles of the 


soil, and are thus enabled to counteract the fcMxe 
exerted by the tip of the radicle; the latter j)ushes 
through the ground without uplifting the seed. 
This action can be watched and the growth of the 
root-hairs observed by means of a pocket lens and 
by the exercise of that virtue, most necessary for 
all young naturalists — patience. 

Returning to the seeds that were sown under 
the soil, we find the)' have germinated ; the radicle 
is pushing downwards, and just above the soil- 
level we ma}' see the short curved tigclliim. This 
very quickly straightens itself, and then we ob- 
serve that the cotyledons have been drawn out- 
of the seed-coats and are displayed as two green 
leaves, which in a few days will be an inch or two 
above the ground, owing to the growth of the 
tigelliun. Here we get quite a departure from the 
bean seed, whose cotyledons were hjpogean (under 
the earth), those of the mustard being epigean 
(upon the earth). There is also another point of 
difference; the mustard cotyledons are green, they 
contain chlorophyll corpuscles, have stomates, and 
so can perform all the functions of the normal 
green leaf; thus they help at once to feed the 

(iKRMfXATlOX 263 

\'i)iin_i,f plantlct by clccoinposinL,^ the carbon dioxide 
of the air and foriniiiL; starch, whilst in contrast to 
this wc learnt that the seed-leaves of the bean 
were storehouses onl\-. We are now sufficiently 
acquainted with the functions of the seed to be 
able to appreciate the \ariations of the tcs/a, or 
seed-coat. In numerous instances the spines, 
prickles, hairs, and other growths on the surface 
have, in addition to their use in dispersin<,f the 
seed, an essential pur[>ose in holdinL,^ the seed in 
its rightful position. We will take cress as our 
next example, since it ma>' be regarded as a type 
of all smooth seeds. Cress seed remains intact 
until water comes in contact with it ; then it 
becomes slimy b\' the liberation of a mucilaginous 
cement from the (juter coat layer ; this is, of 
course, highl)' adhesive, and thus the seeds are 
fixed firml\' into the soil. 

Another example is that of the little epiphyte 
(mentioned in our first chapter;, Tillmidsia usnoidcs, 
or old man's beard. When the seeds leave the 
capsule they are furnished with silk)' hairs, which 
enable the lin\- little structures to float through the 
air ; the)' soon come in contact with the bark of 



trees, and then the little hairs cling to the rough 
surface. In this position the seeds germinate, and 


are held firmly in their place by the tightl}'-clasp- 
ing silken strands. 

Hardl}' an}- pursuit is more delightful than the 
collecting and drying of seedling trees ; a ramble 

(;i:u'.\n\.\T/o\ 265 

thr(Hii;h the woods in early suiniuer will reveal 
many specimens under or near the outskirts of the 
loiiai^e. I'nder the beeches we shall soon li^ht 
upon the nuts of last year comini^ up through the 
moist, rottini; soil, in the form of two broad, green 
seed-leaves. As the\- often retain the dry, three- 
cornered seed-husk u\nm them, we can easily see 
that they are ycning beeches ; (otherwise, the 
cot)ledon leaves being so unlike the perfect form, 
it might be rather difficult to distinguish the 
species. These seedlings ha\e germinated sc^ne- 
what like the bean seed, the radicle has grown 
chnvnward, and the curved tigelliim, pushing up- 
wards, has draw n the cotyledons out of the seed- 
coat. We ma\' notice with surprise through how- 
small an aperture the cotyledons have been 
pushed, and still thc\- are uninjured, a fact that is 
due to their being folded up like a fan in the seed- 
husk. As soon as the tigelliiui reaches light and 
air it straightens out, and the flat seed leaves, which 
are at first of the palest green, soon deepen in 
C(;lour, and arc working away prejiaring food for 
the growth of the xoung plumule which springs up 
from between the cotyledons, crowned with two 



perfect youn<y beech-leaves. This is all the baby- 
tree can do the first year. We can distinguish the 
second-\'ear seedlings by their woody stem, brown 
leaf-scales, and silken-fringed )'oung beech-leaves. 
We shall not find cot\'ledons on the young oak, 
horse - chestnut, or sweet - 
chestnut seedlings, because 
these remain normally be- 
low the ground (hypogean), 
forming a storehouse of 
nutriment for the young 
tree. It is interesting to 
watch the growth of an 
acorn when placed in damp 
moss in a saucer. After a 
few weeks the acorn will 
have absorbed water, and 
the leathery seed-coat will 
AcoKN. burst at the pointed end ; 

through this rent the radicle will protrude, fibres 
will be found growing upon the root, the 
tigelluni is thick, and just where the stalks of 
the cotyledons are joined to it the jjlumule 
emerges as from a sheath. The plumule is in 

(,/:h'Mi.\.i I U).\ 


no luiiT)' to (1l'\c1o|) leaves ; its first L,n'o\\tli is 
|)r<)vi(lccl for b\- the rich suppl)- of food witliiii the 
acorn. If, ho\ve\cr, we look carefully at its little 
stem, we shall observe upon its surface a few 
scattered scales, each w ith a rudinicntar)- bud in 
its axil. When the shoot has attained a hei<^ht of 
three or foiu- inches it develops its first i,n'een leaf, 


and b\- the end of its first summer about six will 
have been formed. A collection of seedlins^ 
trees, carefuU)' dried • and neatly arrans^ed in a 
blank book, with the Knj^lish and Latin names 
U) each, a note <jf the age of the .seedliny;, the 

■ TliL-v iiKML-lv iiLL-d to hc pluCL'cl hctwccH sliccts of blot- 
tinjf paper, which shmild he dried daily and kept in a press 
or nnder a weitjht tor a few days until the specimens are tit 
to be placed in a liook. 


spot where it was obtained, and the date, will in 
time form a pleasant memento of forest rambles, 
and, probably, may lead to further studies of a 
similar kind. 

To make the collection complete there should 
be some seedlings of the other great division of 
plants, namely, the plants with one seed-leaf 
(monocotyledons). A few date-stones will supply 
these specimens ; they should be sown in moist 
earth and placed either in a greenhouse or on a 
sunny window-ledge, where their growth can be 

Their germination is quite different from that of 
the other seeds we have described, and if a number 
of seeds are sown the different stages can be seen 
as in the accompanying figure. 

One long cotyledon is pushed out from the seed, 
the free end is like a sheath. The part nearest the 
seed forms a structure resembling a rolled-up 
stalk ; from the former roots are developed, whilst 
from the rolled-up stalk or sheath grows the next 
formed leaf, and each successive leaf is sheathed 
like its predecessor. This arrangement can be 
well seen in young growing grasses which can be 



taken to j)ieccs and examined. I sh.ill conclude 
this chapter with a brief reference J 

to the spores or so-called seeds of 
ferns and mosses. 

These are essentially different 
from the seeds that ha\e formed 
our stud}- in the earlier part of 
this chapter, the\' do not contain 
an embr\-o. Let us first notice 
fern-spores, which we shall find in 
abundance at the back of maiden- 
hair and other fern fronds ; they 
are contained in little brown 
patches known as spore cases 
(sporaugiitiii, from sponr, a spore, 
and ags^ciofi, a vessel;. If we collect 
some of these and sow them on 
some \er\' fine damp earth, keep- 
in*^ it at the same time shaded 
and warm, the spores will soon 
germinate. We shall not find a 
radicle this time as the result of \ 

growth, but in its stead a flat 


f. . , YOUNG n.ATK- 

expansion ot green tissue (jm'o- palm. 


thallium, Gr. protos, first, t/ialios, a branch) 
i^row'ing upon the earth like an exceedingly 
delicate leaf. From the underside of this green 
film a few ver)' fine root-like hairs (rhizoids, Gr. 
rhi:~a, a root) are developed; very soon with a. 
microscope we shall be able to discern upon the 
surface of this structure a few little projections. 
In one of these is developed a flask-shaped mass 
of cells farchegonium, Gr. arcliegoios, first of a 
race), in the other (antheridium, diminutive of Gr. 
imtJicra^ an anther) some minute bodies (anthero- 
zoides, Gr. aiit/icra and rjooid, a minute life) with 
tails ; these escape from the covering and wriggle 
about very much like tinv animalcules until finally 
they come into contact with the flask-shaped open- 
ing before mentioned. These tailed structures are 
something like pollen grains in their function, only 
they differ from pollen grains, which are passive, 
by being endowed with the power of motion ; the 
result of their fusion with the flask-like body is to 
fertilise the germ cell (oospore, Gr. oon, an egg) in 
that structure, and from the germ cell so fertilised 
is developed an embr}'o from which at once springs 
the young fern plant. The first leaf grows froni 

(;i:h'.yix.\Tio\ 271 

the u|)|)(--i' part of the cinbrv'o and fnun the lower 
part is developed the " foot," a little connectinLj- 
link between the i^reeii prolhailus and the hal)\- 
fern which serves to nurse the little plant until two 
or more leaves have been produced ; the rcjots also 
;^row from the same jiart of the embr)'o. I 
imaj^ine that fern spores could be *,frown and 
watched throui^h all their various statics even b}' 
those of m_v readers who dwell in towns, as a bell 
<jlass would maintain the reciuisite damijncss and 
shelter the )'oun^; ferns from smok}' air. 

I.astl\- 1 will describe an even simpler form of 
spore development. At an\- season of the }-ear wc 
ma)' find the ca[)sule fruit of mosses (Cal}'ptra, Gr. 
Kaliiptra, a veil), a ver\- common one bcinc:;; the 
hair moss (Toh-trichum, (ir. roliitriclios, ha\ini;" 
much hair), borne upon Ioul;" wirv' stalks. Inside 
the ca[3sule we shall find a lart^e quantit\- of small 
greenish bodies ; these are the spores, which of 
course fall £)ut when the spore-case is blown by the 
wind, and being light are easily carried awa)' and 
at length find a resting-place in some damp nook 
or shad}- bank. In such a place the\' find the 
conditions necessar}- for their germination, which 


is not unlike the same process in other seeds and 
spores we have studied. The result is very simple. 
A fine, silky, thread-like body (protonema, Gr. 
protos, first, and iicma, a thread) is developed ; 
when this has attained a fair size, a little moss 
plant bef^ins to grow upon its surface exactly as 
we see a bud grow upon a tree-branch, and it is 
upon this moss jjlant that the organs of reproduc- 
tion arc produced. We have now come to the end 
of our study of seeds. 

An endless source of interest to the student of 
nature is opened up to view by carefully observing 
the beginning of all vegetable life, and the seed or 
spore of the commonest weed or fern will teach us 
lessons that should ever make us mindful of the 
wonderful mystery of life and its genesis. 

Objects to collect and examine : — Poppy, silene, 
and collomia seeds. Examine tigelhim of cyclamen, 
radish, and carrot. Sow broad beans, mustard, and 
cress seed. Collect seedling trees. Sow date- 
stones. Examine fern and moss spores. 


18 273 

" Lo ! on each seed, within its tender rind, 
Life's golden threads in endless circles wind ; 
Maze within maze the lucid webs are roU'd, 
And, as they burst, the living flames unfold." 

Erasmus Darwin, The Botanic Garden. 

('IIAI'Tl'.k XII 

TIIK l'll\SI()L()(i\ ()!• PLANTS 

'X this chapter I will cnclcavour to 
present to !ii\' readers a cfjiicise view 
of the nature and method of the various 
processes that i;"o on continuallv in the 
1/ growing plant. 
These processes were incidental!}' referred to in 
our examination of the character of the \arious 
organs of the i)lant. Thus, in dealing with the 
root, we spoke of its ph)-si()logy so far as 
concerned the abs(jrption of water 1)\- its root- 
hairs. In the leaf, we touched upon the correla- 
tion between the shape and arrangement of the 
leaf tissues and the part the leaf plan's in the 
economy of the plant. The physiolog)- of the 


reproductive ors^ans, ai^ain, we briefly explained 
in connection with their natural history. 

In order to arrange our studies systematically, 
we may divide the physiology or function of plants 
into groups, and, taking each group separately 
study their effect on the plant. 

We may then divide the functions of plants into 
Assimilation, and 

The first teaches us how a plant feeds and what 
it feeds upon ; the second, how the food is 
prepared by the plant so as to enable it to use 
this food for growth and to store some of it away 
for future use. The third group deals with the 
various means adopted by plants for multiplying 
and increasing the species. 

Plants, like animals, must /crcf and breathe in 
order to live ; the food of plants, however, differs 
from that of animals in being more simple and 

Plant food is of two kinds, water and gas. 
Water is an actual necessity to the plant, both as 
a direct food and as a medium to convey inorganic 

'////•; I'HVsiof.oav or plaxts 277 

food. If uc burn sonic wood tf> ;i white ;ish and 
then an.ilyse it, six inorLjanic elements w ill always 
be found — potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, 
phosphorus, and sul|)hur. These substances have 
been prcjvcd b)- experimental water-culture ' to 
be indisjjcnsablc to plant-life ; others arc found in 
larger or smaller quantities, but the)' are not, 
judging by experimental tests, essential to plant 
life. These inorganic elements do not enter the 
plant as such, but in the form of salts dissolved in 
water ; the phosphorus and sulphur as phosphates 
and sulphates. l^xactK' how these salts and other 
elements are absorbed will be best learnt from a 
simple experiment. 

■ Testing the effect of plant food by water-culture is carried out in 
the following manner. Six large jars are filled with distilled water. 
In \o. I all the six elements above mentioned are placed in small 
quantities, so as to form a weak solution. In No. 2 only five of 
them are addetl to the water, and in each succeeding jar one 
element is left out. A seedling plant which has heen germinated 
on ilamp sand is suspended in each jar in such a manner that the 
leaves are in the air and the roots in the water without the seed 
touching the liquid. The growth of the young plants is carefully 
observed, ind the result is found to be that No. i will grow and 
flourish, finding all its needful food in the water, whilst the rest of 
the seedlings will show plainly by their feeble and starved condition 
that, the food elements Iwing absent, they cannot build up their 
stenis and leaves, and must eventually perish. 


We must first provide a lari^e glass jar three parts 
full of clear water. Then a lamp chimney, to the 
bottom of which a piece of membrane fwhich any 
butcher will supply) has been affixed, should be 
partly filled with water 
coloured by sulphate of cop- 
per, and then suspended in 
the glass jar. Through a cork 
fitted to the top of the lamp 
chimney a long tube should 
be inserted. The fluid in the 
lamp-glass \y\\\ be seen to rise 
in the tube shortly after the 
experiment is made, and the 
clean water in the large jar 
will become slightl}' coloured. 
This experiment teaches us 
that liquids have the power of 
TKAxsKusiox iHACRAM. passlug through a membrane; 
this power is known as diffusion, or osjnosis. Fur- 
ther, we notice that the clear fluid passes into the 
coloured water more rapidl)' than the heavy 
coloured water passes out. 

Now the fine 7-opt Jiairs of a growing plant are 


iiicuibrancs, h.uiiiL; the same pi')|;ci't)' as the 
nicinbianc \\c placed 011 the lamp sharle ; inside 
the root hairs there exists hea\y dense cell sap, 
outside are the films of hygroscopic water con- 
taining (dissolved; inorganic salts, and this water 
passes in through the inembranc of the root, whilst 
a very little of the cell sap passes out into the soil, 
the (|uantit\- passing in being greatl)' in excess of 
that which esca])es. 

When once the crude water of the soil is inside, 
it is soon passed along to the stem and leaves b\- 
the pressure of more water coming in, and by what 
is called capillary poiocr ; this power we may easd)- 
sec if we dip a fine tube into water, when at once 
the water will rise up some distance into the tube. 
I have pointed out that plant food is gaseous as 
well as aqueous. 

Ox\\gen is absorl)ed b}' the root \er\- freel\" from 
the soil, and, tlierefore, farmers and gardeners 
frequentl}' plough and stir the soil of fields and 
gardens so that the roots ma}- obtain a suppK" of 
this needful gas. 

Let us now endeavour to see how the gaseous 
fo(jd is taken into the plant. In order to do so 


we must remember that the gases necessar}' for 
phmt food form j)art of the air we breathe; this 
air is made up of two-thirds nitrogen, one-third 
ox}'gen, witli a small and \ar}-ing, but always 
present, quantit}' of carbon-dioxide, and of these 
the latter is the most essential to the life of 

We have learnt in our stud)- of the leaf how it, 
b\- the aid of the green chlorophj'll granules, and 
under the influence of sunlight, absorbs this carbon 
dioxide and effects certain changes in it. One of 
the most essential elements in the growth of plants 
is nitrflo;cn ; this we have just seen constitutes two- 
thirds (jf the air we breathe, but the plant is unable 
to make use of it in this free form ; that is to sa\', 
although the leaf can freely absorb carbon-dioxide 
it cannot absorb nitrogen ; it has to be taken in 
by the roots of ordinary plants in the form of 
nitrates, that is, in conjunction with some other 
element. There is, however, an important ex- 
ception to this rule ; for what are called the 
insectivorous plants have the power to absorb 
nitrogen under certain conditions. These will be 
explained in the succeeding chapter. We can 

////•: rifvsiofAyiY or I'L.wrs 2Hj 

now siiinmarisc the processes of nutritifjii. The 
roots absorb water coiitaiiiiiiL; earth\- salts as well 
as oxygen ^as. The leaves absorb gaseous food 
in llic form of carbon-dioxide, and I ma\- add 
sometniies water xapour. There are two simple 
experiments that my readers can make which 
will prove these statements, and will L;"ive them 
a greater interest in the somewhat dr\' details of 
vegetable physiology. Our first experiment to 
show the absorpti\e power of roots is taken from 
Sir Joseph llcjoker's IVimer on ]Sotan\'. 

"Take up three |)lants of the buttercup carefull)' 
b\- the roots ; iea\e one ( No. i) on the table ; place 
another (No. 2) with its roots in water ; hang the 
third (No. 3) upside down over a tumbler of water 
with a few of the lea\es in the water, but the root 
exposed. In due time No. i will have faded ; 
No. 2 will be quite fresh ; No. 3 will have the 
parts not in the water faded. No. i shows that 
water contained in the plant has e\aporated from 
its surface ; No. 2 that the water has been absorbed 
by the root and conve}X'd to the leaves ; No. 3 
that the immersed leaves have not sujjplied the 
other portions of the plant with water." 


The second function, assimilation, depends upon 
several processes that together go to make up the 
work of digestion and preparing plant food. These 
processes are transpiration, respiration, and evo- 
lution of oxygen ; the latter process is associated 
with the feeding of the leaf — that is, the absorption 
of carbon-dioxide. This compound gas is under 
the influence of sunlight, and by the agency of 
the green colouring granules, decomposed into 
carbon-monoxide and oxygen ; the latter is 
eliminated, whilst the carbon and a part of the 
oxygen is retained, and with the absorbed water 
is conx'ertcd into material that the plant can use 
for the purpose of increasing its structure. 

By a very simple experiment we can prove the 
escape of oxygen from the foliage of plants. A few 
spra}-s of such leaves as laurustinus, bay, arbor 
vitre, and maiden-hair fern should be tied firmly 
to a piece of stone. We should have ready a 
soup-plate, a glass shade, and a tub full of fresh 
spring water (one large enough to allow the shade 
to be held upright under the water). When all is 
ready, place the bunch of leaves and stone in the 
glass shade held horizontalU', and graduall}- sink 

////•: I'livsiOLoay oi- i'/..i\rs 2S3 

it under the w.iter till the shade is cjiiite full ; 
place the soup-plate at the open end where the 
shade is, and slowly raise the t^lass until it is 
upright, and then it can be lifted out and placed 
on a table in a window where the sun or brii^ht 
li<jht can reach it. The bubbles of ox\-;^en will 
soon bei^in to form alon^; all the edi^es of the 
leaves and the jewelled effect of the boucjuet will 
be \er)- curious and beautiful. It is hardl)' needful 
to sa)- the stone is simpK' required to k'eep the 
i^roup in an upright position. i^\- the follow inL( 
da\- there will be a lar^e bubble of ox)-f^en col- 
lected in the ui)per part of the shade, eliminated 
from the leaves b\- the aid of chloroph\dl and 

These chani^es resultiuL;" in assimilation are 
alwa\'s in correlation with the process known as 
tra)tspiratioit. The root is continuall\- taking; in 
fluids chari^ed with inori^anic salts ; these are 
b}' the water con\'e\"ed to the leaves b\- means 
of the network of \eins, which we know b\- the 
term fibro-vascular bundles. These, as we may 
. see in skeleton leaves, traverse the entire substance 
of the leaves where the salts are used up in the 







////•. ruYsioi.oay 01- I'I.axts 285 

ccnistructivL' work of the plant. The water is not 
all wanted ; part of it jxisses off in the form of 
vapour. Transpiration, then, is the ]:)assin<^ off 
of this water. 

We can easil)- see this process L^oing on if we 
place a few trop;eoluin leaves in a cool tumbler, 
and then the tumbler to sunlight. In a 
.short time the sides of the i; will .show a film 
of moisture due to the transpiration (jf the leaves. 
This process takes place more freel}' in a warm 
temperature than in cool conditions ; consequentl\^ 
in hot weather there is rapid trans[)iration, and as 
the water is parted with more cell sap passes into 
the leaves and stems, and so the plant is kept cool. 
We can now see the i^reat use of the little pores 
known as Stoniatcs ; these arc found mainly on 
the under surface, and it is princi{)ally through 
these [)ores that the leaf transpires. 

We must now carefully note the fact that all 
growing parts of the plant take up ox}'gen and 
give off carbon-dioxide. This power which is 
common to all life is known as respiration. It 
is a process that cannot be observed in daylight 
in green plants because this respiration is feeble, 


and also because the opposite power of assimi- 
lation is so strong;" that the action of breathing is 
obscured. In the absence of sunlight, however, 
it can be observed, as also it ma)' be traced in 
connection with parts of the plant other than the 
green leaves. Seeds, for example, during their 
earlier growth (germination) give off carbon- 
dioxide freely by respiration. This we can prove 
for ourselves by taking a large glass jar holding 
about two or three quarts ; fill this about half full 
of beans that have been well soaked in water so as 
to swell them and induce them to commence 
germination. Close the jar with a tight fitting 
cork ; after six or seven hours the presence of 
carbon-dioxide may be easily seen. Have ready 
a small phial of clear lime water, and with a piece 
of twine let this down into the jar without spilling 
its contents ; allow it to remain there some 
minutes, keeping at the same time the top closed 
with a handkerchief We shall see that the 
clear lime water will after a short time become 
cloudy or milky ; this is due to the carbon- 
dioxide, liberated by the seeds, forming chalk 
with the calcium of the lime water, the chalk being 

•////•. /7/r,s7( )/.()(,)■ ()/• /'/..I.V'/.S 287 

insoluble ;iiul c.isil)' seen. Now take out the 
phial and let it stand, well covered, when the 
chalk in the form of a fine precipitate will be 
seen at the bottom of the phial. If desired, a 
second experiment can be made with the same 
jar b\- lowerini; into it a li;4hted taper; wc shall 
find it will l;o out owin^- to the presence of the 
carbon-dioxide ; as this <j^as docs not support 
combusticjn our li<.jhted taper is quickl}- extin- 

W'e can see from these experiments that resjjira- 
tion ij;ocs on in the L^rowinc;' plant and that this 
process is independent of chloroph}ll. It is an 
essential j)art of the life of all plants, and my 
readers who ma}' perhajjs wonder wh}- it is 
that two such opposite processes as I have 
described are both carried on in the plant must 
remember that in the main the feeding process 
which depends on sunlii^ht and the presence 
of chlorophxll is carried on in the day time, 
wh'Ist respiration is practical!)- counteracted 
in the daytime b>' the \igorous intake of carbon- 
dioxide. At nij^ht when the rays of lii^ht cease 
and no longer enable the plant to '{K:K::i\, the respira- 


tion is evident. Briefly, we learn that /;/ /({''/^l the 
plant gains in weight, whilst /;/ darkness (by respira- 
tion) it loses. The green plant can only construct 
growing material out of simple substances in light, 
having no power to do so in the dark. 

Heat is just as needful to plant-life ; it must 
be above freezing point, and a somewhat high 
temperature is necessary to set in miction all 
those chemi'cal that I have briefl}' 

At a low temperature the work of assimilation 
and other processes are arrested ; on the other 
hand, a rise in temperature increases the activity 
of these processes. 

We now come to the third function called 
reproduction. We have seen in connection with 
the food of plants how they convert inorganic 
material into organic. This one fact is significant 
of the great office of plant-life in nature ; animal- 
life could not exist without its help. I'lant-life 
may be said to prepare the food of animal-life, and 
retain that balance of gases in the atmosphere 
necessary to healthy respiration. How important 
then it is that all kinds of herbs, trees and plants 


should imiltipl}- and be fruilful, life of ain- sort is 
of limited duration, and subject to all the \icissi- 
tudes of accident, ctJiistitution, and climate, and 
so wc find that plants ha\e been endowed with 
wonderful powers of reproduction in order that the 
earth ma\- be constant!)- clothed with \egctation, 
necessar)' for the life of man and all animal 

By reproduction I want my readers to clearl)' 
understand the power possessed b\- the individual 
plant to multipl}- its kind or species ; and this 
power is carried into effect in a variet}' of wa}'s 
in different species. These \arious methods of 
reproduction then will occupy the concluding 
pages of this chapter. The protoplasm (or hfe 
principle of any indi\idual plant is endowed 
with the power of gi\ing rise to an entire!}- new 
indixidual. This is accomplished Lii one of two 
wa\-s. In tlic first b\- cells forming a part of the 
plant, but >'et not speciall}- modified for the pur- 
]K)se of reproduction. This mode of increase is 
l<nown as vegetatixe reproduction. Wc will illus- 
trate it by two examples widel\- apart. Many 
lowly plants like protococcus the bright green 



substance which so beautifully colours tree trunks 
in moist situations) and yeast, are formed of one 
cell on]\% and \\hen such cells attain their full size 
they simph' dixide into two or more cells which 
<^row, and finall)- attain maturit}- when the process 
is repeated. 

The other example is that known as the straw- 
berry " runner," this, as we know, is only an 
elongated stem bearing at the end a bunch of 
leaves, and from the base of the leaves a few roots, 
the whole being a new plant which may be 
remox'ed from the parent and grown in some other 

These, then, are examples of vegetative repro- 
duction, and my readers can disco\'er for them- 
selves many other instances in the garden. 

The plan of propagation by "cuttings" is simply 
the gardener's practical application of vegetative 

The second mode of increase is by special 
reproductive cells, which are set free by the parent 
plants and become new individuals. The second 
mode is common to all plant-life, and in it two 
distinct processes can be observed. VVe often sec 

////•: I'HYsiOLoay oi- ri.Axrs 2i)i 

on a clcca)'ccl pear or apple a patch of brDwn 
tnould Onucorj. If we examine it with a lens wc 
see a little forest of tin\' erect stalks, and upon the 
apex of each is a round hall containiiiLj reproduc- 
tive cells, each of these, wliich are called spores fthe 
sjiore-case bein^ called the sporani^ium , contains 
protoplasm, which is endowed with the power of 
giving rise to a new individual mould. 

This process is t)'pical of what is commcjn to 
ferns, and man\' other cr)'ptogamic jilants, and is 
called asiwiail ri'productio)i. 

The second form is that in which two such 
spore-like organs as we have noticed in the mould, 
fuse together and form a spore capable of giving 
rise to a new plant. 

This is known as sexual jr/^nuhic/ion, and is 
de[KMident upon the fact that the protoplasm of 
either of the two organs is incapable of 
giving rise to a new indi\idual plant, and that 
they must come in contact and fuse organicail}- 
before a new plant can be formed. This process 
of fusion I ha\e in an earlier chapter described as 
fertilisation. The pollen grain, the fertilising 
agent, is one of the reproductive cells, and the 


other, the ovule, is the cell that has to be fertilised. 
A.fter this there is the subsequent development of 
the ovule into the seed, and in this seed we may 
recognise a plant in embryo endowed with powers 
not possessed by its parent, that enables it to 
resist extremes of heat and cold which would 
result in many cases in death to the parent 
plant. By way of experiment some seeds have 
been subjected to 40 degrees of cold, and yet 
have not lost their germinating power, whilst, on 
the other hand, it is known that seeds of some 
plants growing in sandy deserts lie baking in the 
sun for many months in a temperature of over 70 
degrees, and yet begin to grow as soon as moisture 
reaches them.^ 

Things to be observed or collected : — Ex- 
periments to be made in order to sho\\' diffu- 

' From "Nat. Hist, of Plants," p. 554: "It has been proved 
experimentally that seeds which have heen deprived hy calcium 
chloride of as much water as possible are not killed even at the 
boiling point of water." Careful experiment has shown that there 
are three stages of activity in the life and work of a plant — (i) .V 
Diiiiiinum or zero, at v\hicli the processes are just jiossible ; (2) a 
medium stage or optiiiiuin point where the activity is the greatest ; 
and (3) a inaxi/niiiii stage of heat where growth is arrested. So 
that we learn that plant-life can suffer from too high a temperature 
Eis well as that which is too low. 

THE I'HYsio/.ocy or rr.ixTs 293 

sioii, ti';uis|)iratioii, and respiration, collccticMi (jf 
oxygen from water boiuiuet. Carbtjii-clioxide 
from i^erininaliiii; beans. Observe — 

Blue mould on fruit. 

.Stra\\berr\' runner. 

Rooted cuttings. 

Stamens and pistil ot" an\' flowering;' plant. 

("n.\r'i"i;k xiiT 


Beyond, ihe moorland has its wealth 

Of pink and purple, blue and gold ; 
Heather and gorse, whose breath gives health, 

And ling, a hive of bees that hold : — 
And when there's moisture in the brake, 

The clammy sundew's glistening glands 
'Mid carmine foliage boldly make 

Slaves of invading insect hands." 


CHAi''ri:R XIII 


I IK statciiKMil ill our previous chapter 
that tlic leaf has no p(j\ver to absorb 
nitrogen, has to be received with 
certain exceptions. These exceptions 
are discovered in a large group of plants, 
having little or no botanical relationship, 
and widely separated as regards their geographical 
distribution and habit of growth. The term 
insectivorous (insect-eating; has been applied to 
these b)' eminent botanists who have studied their 
habits and mode of growth. We may. as a 
preliminary to our study, summarise the main 
features of these interesting plants, because I wish 
my readers to see in them an extension and 
elaboration of the various processes we ha\e tried 


to investigate in plant-life, and not a mere descrip- 
tion of a few vegetable wonders. Rather would I 
point out that in studying these deviations from 
the ordinary type, as elsewhere, the young botanist 
should try to arrive at some explanation of these 
peculiarities, bearing always in mind that every 
part of the plant is created for some special pur- 
pose. This train of thought, if brought to bear 
upon our botanical study will prevent our regard- 
ing the contrivances of these insectivorous plants 
as mere freaks of nature, which appears to me 
to be a low and unworthy view to take of such 
delicate and wonderful structures. 

Occasionally, it is true, we meet with monstro- 
sities, in the formation of which we fail to see any 
hidden purpose ; but even here by careful obser- 
vation we shall probably be able to perceive that it 
is the result of some injury or the accompaniment 
of disease from which plant-life is no more free 
than animal-life is. 

Let us now trace the features that are common 
to the plants which form the subject of this 

Perhaps their most interesting function is that 

ixsEcrnvRors i'Lasts 2(><) 

of catchinj^f and rctaim'iij^ insects. This is accom- 
l>lishcd in various ways, by viscid fluids which 
imprison small flics, as in the leaves of the sundew 
and other plants ; by movements in the leaves, 
as in the Venus fly-trap ; b\' a combination of 
both, as in the butterwort ; or by special pitfalls 
and traps, as in the pitcher plants, sarracenias, 
bladder\v(Mt, and cephalotus. Having caught their 
prey, these plants dissolve it b\- means of an acid 
secretion ; the dissolved animal - life is then 
absorbed and appropriated for the purposes of 
vegetable growth. Not all these processes are 
carried on by insect-eating plants. In some, for 
example, the secretion of dissolving acid is not 
very apparent, in others the absorbing glands are 
not fully developed ; but, briefly, the above 
features are those possessed by this singular class 
of plants, and there is every reason to believe that 
powers of this kind are more widely spread than 
is usually supposed. 

\Vc will now notice a few t)'pes in detail. 

The sundew ( Droscra rotnudifolia) is the prett}' 
and poetic name of a plant which may often be 
found on boggy moors, It is barely an inch in 



heii;"ht, a mere rosette of leaves shaped like a 
battledore, radiating from a very short root stock, 
and bearing, in early summer, a central flower- 
stalk from four to six inches high, furnished with 
a few tiny white flowers. The whole plant lies 

close to the ground, and is 
often embedded in bog- 
moss, and, were it not for 
the bright colour of the 
leaves ^ and their si^arkling 
p dewy effect, it would be 
a difficult plant to find. 
With the naked eye we 
can see that the leaves 
are covered with hairs, and 
a lens will show still more 
plainly that these hairs 
have each a club-like 
suNOKw. end bearing a gummy 

fluid, in appearance not unlike glycerine. These 
globules of fluid sparkle in the sun ; hence the 
name of sundew and the botanical name of 
drosera, from the Greek " aroseros" or dewy. 

' On .sunny heaths they are dften of a rich crimson tint. 

iNSECTiroh'ors rf.Axrs 301 

Leaves with t^Iaiulular hairs arc not rare 
amongst our wild plants, and if this was the 
onl)' character that the sundew possessed it would 
not be spcciall)- noticeable. It is, however, the 
unusual structure and l)eha\iour of these hairs 
tliat claims our notice. The term tentacle is a 
not inapi^ropriate one to appl\- to these "hairs." 
A leaf of sundew, with all its tentacles standing 
out at different angles from the surface of the leaf, 
and each point armed w ith a drop of \ iscid lluid, 
is an effectixe arrangement for catching insects. 
The bright glistening drojjs are a fatal attracticjii 
to flies, gnats, and other small insects. When they 
alight upon the p(jints of the tentacles the}' soon 
find that the\- are held prisoners. In their efforts 
to get free the\- entangle themseKes more and 
more on the slim}' points of the treacherous hairs. 
If we watch the tentacles after a fl}' has been 
caught, it will soon be seen that the hairs are 
bending over and closel}- pressing down the 
wretched ca|)ti\e. This folding over occupies 
four or fi\e hours from the time the capture 
is made. The glands also begin to gi\e out an 
increased amount of gumm}' secretion, and this 


flow kills the insect by stopping up its breathing 
pores, so that literally it dies of suffocation. The 
fluid not only increases in quantity, but becomes 
acid, and its effect is to dissolve the insect and 
render it soluble ; the dissolved parts are then 
absorbed by the glands and digested. This 
interesting process can be watched quite easily 
by carefully taking up a few plants of sundew 
with some of the bog-soil and moss in which they 
were growing and placing them in a glass dish, 
where the}' will continue for months in perfect 
health if kept very wet and covered vyith a bell 

I once lighted on some magnificent sundew 
growing on boggy land near Woolmer Forest. 
Whilst taking up some roots of it I was per- 
sistently attacked b)' a stinging fly, and, m\' hands 
being occupied, I could not well defend myself 
Happily the sundew acted a friendly part ! I was 
carrying a tuft of it in my hand when, looking 
down, I saw my tormenting fly was securely caught 
upon its leaves. Somehow one always feels ct)m- 
passion for the unfortunate, and I confess I tried 
to rescue the captive, but the creature's wings and 

ixsHcrnvRors ri.AXTs 303 

Ic^s were alre.'ul)' so L,Mue(l to.Li^ether h\- tlie \iscifl 
(lew that it was impossible to release it, and I 
realised more than e\er how effective the sundew 
is as a n\-tra|). 

In transplantiiiLi' specimens of drosera frreat care 
should he taken that the leaves are untouched, 
else, beini;" stick)-, the\- will clinL,^ t()t,^ether and lose 
their delicate beauty. Kver\- few da\s the plants 
ma\- be fed, and happil\- the}' arc quite willini^ to 
accept \er)- minute pieces of raw beef, so that flies 
need not be sacrificed in the cause of science. 
The little " beafeater " must not be fed a second 
time until the hairs have uncurled and the leaf has 
fully expanded, showinc^ that the last meal has 
been diLjested. 1 ha\e kept a large pan of sundew 
in great beautj- for about four months in summer, 
and when the i^lass was taken off and brij^ht sun- 
shine lit up the jewelled leaxes the effect was 
lovel)-, and a magnifying glass showed the struc- 
ture of the leaves and the prismatic colouring of 
the dew-tipped hairs. 

The Venus fly-traj) is an exotic member of the 
insectivorous family. Its leaves are remarkably 
like an ordinary spring rat-trap. A glance at the 



drawing will show its formation. On the two lobes 
of the leaf are a row of stiff bristles occupying the 
precise position of the teeth of a rat-trap. The 
inner surface of the leaves is of a reddish colour, 

due to its being thickly covered with minute red 
glands ; on each lobe there are three stiff hairs. If 
a fly alighted on the leaf and walked across its 
surface, it would touch one of these hairs, and no 
matter how light the touch might be, the hairs are 

/XSKCTIl'Oh'OrS /V,.IA"/"S 305 

so sensitive they won Id convey the si<(nal to the 
hinge of the lobes, and they would instantly rise 
up and clasp the i\\\ eventually crushing it to 
death. Then would fDJlow, as in the case of the 
sundew, the emission of acrid secreticMi and tiie 
absorption and digestion of the insect. 

Insect-destro)-ing plants arc numerous in the 
vegetable world. They may be roughly divided 
into three groups, although there is no strict line 
of demarcation between them, h'irst, those like 
the red Ivchnis and others, which, b\' means of 
sticky liairs, catch and kill small insects, an 
operation that, so far as we know, results in no 
special good to the plant. Then there are those, 
like the sundew, which catch, kill, and digest the 
insect for food ; whilst the third grouj^ consists of 
plants which catch and kill insects, but have no 
digestive process. Decomposition of the captured 
insects takes jjlace, but the absorption which goes 
on is simpiv that of the liipu'd products of 
dccomjjosition, the latter process resulting from 
the insects being immersed in fluid. To this 
latter group belong the pitcher plants r Xepenthcs) 
and sarracenias. These last are North American 


plants of peculiar structure and appearance. The 
leaf is folded and modified into a tunnel-shaped 
tube differing in form in the various species. In 
all there is a kind of cap or lid to the tube, so 
that rain is kept out. In one or two species the 


lid is so arranged that the mouth is exposed. In 
the bottom of these tubes there is usually a 
quantity of somewhat slimy fluid. The inner 
face of the lid and surface just inside the rim of 
the tube is smooth, usually of a bright shining 

/.V.S7;c//IOA'()r.s I'L.IXTS 307 

colour and covered with minute hcjney-secretin^ 
glands, a most attractive lure for insects. Below 
this honexcd surface the character of the sides of 
the tube changes comjaletely ; for, down to the 
fluid, it is coxered with stiff hairs all jxtinting 
downwards. Xow we see how the trap is set. 
The hf^iey just inside the tube is attractive, and 
the insect feeding finds it very easy to descend the 
tube ; the smooth surface (jffers no foothold, and 
the downward pointed hairs prevent it from return- 
ing, until at last the insect becomes engulfed in the 
pool of water at the bottom i>f llic tul)c. In this 
fluid insects generalh' accumulate, ,decomj)ose, and 
become liciuid manure. 

In Georgia and North I'lorida sarracenias 
are found in the swamps in large quantities attain- 
ing one to two feet in height, their great tubes half- 
filled with insects showing their \alue in tending 
to reduce the swarms of flies which abound in 
such localities. We can see from these charac- 
teristics of the sarracenia a link between the 
insect-eating plants which have a true digestive 
process and ordinary plants that obtain their 
food in part direct from the soil. The sarracenia 



is simpl}' making- an attempt to collect nitro- 
genous food by the aid of its form and sweet 
secreticms ; thus it lures on flies and other insects 
to their doom, which to the plant means an 


increased supply of liquid manure for its nourish- 

Between the two t}^pes of insectivorous plants 
and ordinary plants there are endless varieties. 
The largest known species of " fly-catcher " is the 

/.v.s7-:t77iOA'()rs /'/..i.vy.s 


Kon't/ii/d (ietit(xta of South Africa, which aUaiiis 
a hci<;ht of six- feet, with leaves similar to the 
sundew in character. So efficient are these leaves 
in catching; Hies that the lioers \ya\v^ up branches 
in their rooms as llx-traps. 

The smallest insect-eatin<4 plant is probabl\- 
the blaclclerwort r^7/7V7/'/^/;7> vitl- 
gixris ), a rootless water plant w ith 
minute bladders on small thread- 
like lea\es. The bladders onl\- 
o()en inwards, so that when an 
insect pushes a<jainst the opening" 
or \al\e it casil)- enters, and can- 
not j^^ct out ap^ain. The bladder 
contains water, but the insect 
quickK' consumes the ox\'<^en in 
it, and conscquenth' dies, and 
when dccaj'cd its substance is i'itchkk ok m:- 


absorbecl b\- inlands on the inner 1 u-siana. 
surface of the bladder. 

Perhaps the most attractive of the group of 
plants we are considcrintj^ is the pitcher plant 
or Nepenthes. It c^rows common!}' in Borneo 
and Ceylon. The pitcher is a direct develop- 


ment of the midrib of the leaf It varies in 
size from the Httlc thimble-Hke pitcher of 
Nepenthes gracilis to tlie hiri^e juQ-Hke receptacles 
of Nepenthes Rafflesiana ' and others, each capable 
of holding nearly a pint of flnid. The pitchers 
are furnished with a lid overhanging the mouth 
of the receptacle, this is kept open by a thick 
rim. This rim and the under-surface of the lid 
both secrete a sweet fluid which is attractive to 
insects, and from the rim and opening of the 
mouth a smooth surface directs the ill-fated flies 
to the sweet sticky fluid alwa}'s found at the bottom 
of the pitcher, out of which they rarely come alive. 
Another of our native plants exhibiting these 
insectivorous habits is the hutterwovt (Pinguicu/a). 
Like the sundew it is a mere rosette of radical 
leaves, having upturned margins and a very 
succulent pellucid appearance. These leaves are 
covered with glands which exude a viscid kind 
of fluid like that on the tentacles of the sundew. 
This natural birdlime catches and holds small flies, 
midges, and other tiny flying creatures, as well as 
crawling insects. The presence of these insects 

' See Frontispiece. 

ixsi-:c Ti I VROrs pla \ rs 


on the leaf a|)|)L'ars to stiimilatc it to further 
secretion wliich must, of course, lessen the chances 
of the insect's cscajje, and as a further barrier to 
prevent its crecpini^f away, the celiacs of the leaf 
begin slowl)- to curxe in- 
wards, so that the caught 
insect is imprisoned in the 
folds of the leaf. The acid 
secretion wliicli now exudes 
from the L^lands soon dis- 
sohes all the nitrogenous 
and soft parts of the insect, 
which are taken u|j b\' the 
absorptive glands of the 
leaf. There are many ^ 
other plants, of which I -^ 

have not space to make 
mention, although they are 
lull of mterest, as owmg to 

their curious structure, it is probable that insec- 
tivorous habits might also be ascribed to them. 
The field of study is a wide one, and throws 
much light upon the phj-siology of plants as 
well as the relationship between the plant and 


animal world. I would suggest to my young 
readers, as a practical means of knowing more 
of this subject, to try and grow for themselves 
the sundew, pinguicula, and sarracenia. 

The tA\'o first can be found, as I have already 
said, on boggy moors in England, and the latter 
plant can be obtained from any florist. All can 
be successfully grown in a greenhouse or garden 
frame, and studying their growth and habits in 
this way will teach the young botanist far more 
agreeably than learning only from books. 

At Kew there is always a fine collection of these 
insectivorous plants to be seen in vigorous growth, 
whilst at the South Kensington Natural History 
Museum (Botanical Department) there are some 
highly interesting cases illustrating the life history 
of these remarkable jjlants. 

chap'I'i:k XIV 

II A III r or c/kO 11-/7/ AV plants 

Some clothe the soil that feeds them, far diffused 
And lowly creeping, modest and yet fair, 
Like virtue, thriving most where little seen ; 
Some, more aspiring, catch the neighbour shrul) 
With clasping tendrils, and invest his branch. 
Else unadorn'd, with many a gay festoon 
And fragrant chaplet, recompensing well 
The strength they borrow with the grace they lend." 

Cow PER. 



IlAi;iT ()!• (;k()\VTI[ I\ PLANTS 

'\' readers have possibl)- iKjticcd that in 
_sli^Bll»i the previous cliapters in\- aim has been 
^^^'{> to describe the \arious orj^^aiis of a 
-• plant, and that I have tried to show- 
not merely the botanical meaning of 
the man\- differences in the organs of allied 
species, but to point out also how these structures 
are adapted to help the plant to multiph- itself 
The object of this final chapter is to take a 
more general \ iew of [)lant-life, and to give some 
idea of the different habits of plants ; how in their 
struggle to grow and reproduce themselves the\' 
form such habits as tend to assist them in this 
effort, and also how entirel)', in some cases, the\- 
differ from our <.»rdinar)- conception of plant-growth. 


Wc have already seen how beautifully plants are 
adapted to the life they have to lead, how they are 
speciall}' fitted to i^row in some particular place 
and climate, and now I will ask my readers to 
study with me certain of the xarjqng habits of 
plant-life. A typical plant of an ordinary kind 
grows, of course, in the earth, produces root, 
stem, and leaves, and finally flowers, which are 
the origin of fruits and seed ; by the latter the 
plant is again produced, and by this circular 
action the continuit)' of that particular plant is 

Let us now, in imagination, peep into a tropical 
forest. On its outskirts we shall see the prototypes 
of our typical plant ; but inside there are also others 
of quite a different aspect, and the first to attract 
our attention would probably be the curious orchids 
perched upon the tree-branches. Their mode of 
growth differs greatly from that of a normal plant, 
for they are merely attached to the branches by 
means of clasping rootlets, which do not in any 
way extract sap from the tree to which they arc 

The moisture they need is collected by the leaves 

H.llill or (iU'iUl'Tfl l\ I'l.AMS 


and hani^ini^ rootlets Iroin the humid atmosphere 
of the f(^rcst. Ihese |)lants that ha\e accjuired a 
perchiiiL;- lialjit sometimes ^row to an immense size, 
and where they do so vegetable debris accumulates 


about their lower leaves and roots to such an 
extent that it serves to supj)l}' them with needful 

This habit of growth is not confined to the lovely 


orchids ; mosses, lichens, ferns, and many other 
plants have acquired a similar mode of growth, 
and the various ways by which they attach them- 
selves to the bearer j^lants would form an interesting 
subject of investigation. It is a not uncommon 
error to regard these perching plants as parasites, 
but this term is properly used for plants which 
actually feed upon the branches of the trees 
where they grow, and of course seriously injure 
the trees b}' so doing. The orchids, on the other 
hand, do not in any way injure the branch upon 
which they rest. Robert Louis Stevenson in one 
of his later poems has, with a poet's license, which 
in this case is contrary to fact, described the perching 
orchid thus — 

" For in the groins of branches, lo ! 
The cancers of the orchid grow." 

This inaccurate observation is, however, more 
than atoned for by the wonderful impression 
Stevenson has given us of the character of wood- 
land strife, the ceaseless struggle for light and air 
which goes on in tropical forests. 

In studying the parasites as a group of plants 

II. mil or I'.kow'Tii is I'I.asts 3i<> 

associated 1\\- the same habit (jf i^nowth, we are led 
to the coiichisioii that there is sonic difference after 
all in the- nioialit)- of i)lants I Ilerc, for example, 
we are confronted with a !-;roiip of plants that differ 
entirel)' from those we ha\e hitherto examined. 
The mistletoe, which is the commonest type, is 
certainl}- lower in the social plant-scale than the 
l)erchin<4; orchid, the latter with its leaves and 
rootlets being enabled to earn its own livinf^, 
while the mistletoe sends its roots down into the 
soft sap of the branch upon which it is growin^,^ 
and there is no other name for it — steals its 
means of livm<^^ and growing from the substance 
of the poor tree upon which it pre}'s. It is true 
it does, in a half-hearted kind of way, assimilate a 
little gaseous food for itself, but the sickly metallic 
hue of its leaves is evidence that e\en in this respect 
it is shirking its proper duties of nutrition. 

If we desire t(j study the curious habits of 
parasitic plants, the two examples referred to in 
a pre\ious chapter, the clover-dodder and the 
yellow rattle, will afford good examples, the 
latter jilant being easil\- obtainable in fields 
where the pasture is poor and scant)'. \'ery 



curious arc llu- modifications and coiilrixances 
(Icxclopcd h)' |)lants which ha\c accjuircd this 
hal)it c)f |)arasitism, especially aniontrst such wcirfl 
tropical species as Kajjlcsia, a hu<^c parasite growing 
on the Cissus in Sumatra. When the leaves anri 
flowers of the cissus ha\e w ithered, then here and 
there a hutj^e knob protrudes from the stem or root, 
and this i^rows in time to an immense stemless 
flower, measuring more than three feet across, its 
cup frecjuentl)- containing as much as twelve pints 
of liquid, and the weight of the whole flower being 
said to be about fifteen pounds. 

Differing a little in habit from the [iarasites are 
the saprophyte plants, which live on decaj'ing vege- 
tation. The little brown leafless orchid called the 
bird's-nest orchis is of this character, as well as the 
ecjuall}' curious coral-root <jrchis. These plants, 
as well as man)- other parasites, are destitute of 
chloroph)-ll, and are therefore dej^endent on organic 
material for food ; this they obtain either as we 
have seen from living plants or from decaying 
organic matter. In their efforts to obtain a 
needful suppl)- of light and air, some plants 
assume climbing habits, using as supports other 


trees and plants, t<i the very obvious disadvantage 
of the latter. We can well understand how, in a 
tropical forest, the weak -climbing plants strive to 
pass out of the shaded recesses and force their way 
to the tops of the slower growing trees, in order to 
obtain the share of light, moisture, and air which 
are essential to their existence. Very vividly has 
the late Mr. Louis Stevenson described such a scene 
in a tropical forest — 

" The hooked liana in his gin 
Noosed his reluctant neighbours in ; 
There the green murderer throve and spread, 
Upon his smothering victims fed, 
And wantoned on his climbing coil. 
Contending roots fought for the soil 
Like frighted demons ; with despair 
Competing branches pushed for air." 
* » * * * 

" So hushed the woodland warfare goes 
Unceasing ; and the silent foes 
Grapple and smother, strain and clasp 
Without a cry, without a gasp." 

I may explain that the " murderer " alluded to 
is a species of fig-tree which, in its early youth 
climbs up the trunks of other trees, and by means 
of its clasping roots so constricts their stems that 
they ultimately perish. 


In pleasing contrast to this j^hasc of vegetable 
growth is the habit which indicates to us something 
of mutual help and co-operation. In the CotuposiUe 
we find many instances of a habit of growth that 
bears distinctl)' upon this "hclp-one-another" mode 
of life. A common daisy will serve as a type- 
flower of this kind. The little head is a colon)- of 
flowers, but so close is the association of its indi- 
vidual florets that it is usual to regard it as one 
flower rather than a distinct inflorescence composed 
of numerous separate and distinct flowers. 

In order to understand the mutualism displayed 
by this little flower, we must remember that it is 
an insect-fertilised blossom, and, therefore, insects 
must be attracted to it. If we carefully dissect a 
flower-head we shall find first a ring of strap-shaped 
flowers on the outside, constituting the ray florets 
— these are imperfect ;■ but placed side by side on 
the outer edge they become conspicuous ; then we 
find in the centre of the flower-head a number of 
tiny yellow flowers, each one containing stamens 
and pistils. What wee things they are, and if they 
were developed singly how inconspicuous they 
' Barren. 


would be ! When, however, they are grouped side 
by side in the centre, and further, when the outer 
florets are of a different colour and shape, what a 
beautiful and s)'mmetrical whole they make ! Truly 
this is another rendering of the maxim, Union is 
strength. From a different point of view the 
arrangement is equally interesting. The white and 
pink tipped florets of the ray are not capable of 
bearing seed, and yet we see how they help those 
florets that are perfect by their attractive appear- 
ance ; then at night or on a cold rainy day these 
same ray florets bend over and completely cover up 
the florets in the centre which are busy producing 
seed. My readers will find a rich field of investiga- 
tion open before them in studying the flowers of the 
daisy family, and finding out for themselves how 
the florets are grouped together, and to ^^■hat extent 
this principle of co-operation can be traced.' 

Students will find the corn blue-bottle especially 

' A single flower of the Heracleum giganteuni would not be 
specially noticeable, but when hundreds of them are grouped toge- 
ther in a huge umbelliferous head they form a most striking object, 
as may be seen in the plate. I have often watched the swarms of 
flies, beetles, and bees visiting these attractive blossoms on sunny 
days, and the great umbels of seed in autumn showed how effectually 
the insects had carried out their work of fertilisation. 


interesting ; the large outer florets contain no 
organs of reproduction, but still they are brightly 
coloured and highly attractive to bees ; the inner 
florets with their protruding stigmas and anthers, 
are much smaller ; they are the seed-bearers, and 


cannot fail to receive pollination when the bee 
alights on the flower-head, allured by the showy 
outer florets, which apparently exist solely that 
they may draw insects to visit the unattractive 
flowers of the disc. 

The direct influence of the separate parts of a 

UMiir or c.uowiii is i' lasts 327 

phml upon one another, and the ver)' distinct habit 
(jf associatint^ together that they may attain some 
end such as the visits of insects, leads us to con- 
sider two other aspects of plant-hfe, both of which 
are so full (jf interest that wo botanical work can 
now be considered complete without some reference 
to the matter. If we carefully dig up a clover 
[jlant or a broad bean and examine the little njot- 
lets we shall observe some small knobs or swellings 
upon them. These swellings are onh' found here 
and there on some oi the roots, so that their 
presence is not a normal condition. Placing one of 
these knobs under a powerful microscope, we shall 
find it to be not ordinary root tissue but a substance 
teeming with countless numbers of rod-like or 
rounded atoms which botanists who have investi- 
gated the subject tell us are bacteria, />., incon- 
ceivabl)' small one-celled plants which are often 
the cause of terrible diseases. But some of these 
mysterious organisms, on the other hand, are 
capable of beneficial results. It has of late been 
clearly proved that leguminous plants having these 
colonies of bacteria on their roots possess the 
power of assimilating the free nitrogen that forms 


such a large proportion of atmosplieric air. When 
therefore a farmer sows his wheat in a field pre- 
viously occupied by clover he finds the clover roots 
left in the soil contribute the best possible supply 
of nitrogen to the wheat crop. This seems a 
remarkable fact, since vegetable physiologists have 
hitherto insisted upon the fact that plant-life is 
unable to make use of the free nitrogen of the air. 
The other instance of strange habit is that of a 
symbiosis,! which exists between certain trees on 
the one hand and the threads of spawn of some 
fungi on the other. If the roots of the white 
poplar are examined minutely, quite a mantle of 
whitish threads will be found covering the growing 
point. It is said by that eminent botanist. Pro- 
fessor Kerner, and^ by others that, as the roots are 
developed from the young seedling-tree, they are 
enclosed in the meshes of the fungus, and that this 
particular fungus is always a close associate of the 
roots as they grow in all directions. This fact we 
can see when we dig up the roots, but the most 
striking part of the story is this, that between this 

' A word meaning two plants living together and deriving mutual 

n.iiiii ()/• ckouiii IX I'l.ixrs 329 

funi^iis root and tin- roots of tlic tree there is an 
organic connection, a (li\ision of labour which 
results in the tree rcceix'inf^ from the threarl-hke 
filaments of the fun<^us {liyphiC) both moisture and 
certain food stuffs from the ^rounri, whilst the 
funj^us ^ets in retuin such orj^anic fo(jd as the tree 
has produced b\- means of its ^reen leaves. Such 
cases as these [jresent to us a manner of growth 
that is akin to social habit, and, strange as the 
union ma}- appear, the circumstance is b)' no means 
uncommon in the vegetable kingdtjm. Stranger 
still perhaps is the union that is sometimes to be 
found between plants and- some member of the 
animal world, of which union I shall give an 
example. On one of the larger species of sea- 
anemones {Anthea ccrciis) are small )-cllowish spots, 
which at one time were supposerl to lorm part ot 
the animal it--elf Hut now the spots tiUMi out to 
be vegetable cells, which can be isolated and 
induced to continue growing after the death of 
the anemone. The yellow spots are small alga-, 
and are furnished with chloroph\ll. We must not 
regard the algic as parasites on the sea-anemone, 
because the>- split up the carbon-dioxide under the 


influence of sunlight, and by so doing supply the 
anemone with oxygen for respiration, whilst the 
starch formed in the protoplasm of the alga; passes 
b}^ diffusion into the anatomy of the animal. The 
transaction does not end here ; the alga; in all 
probability receives nitrogenous substances in 
return, so that there is a mutual interchange. 

These are but one or two of the many wonderful 
phases of vegetable life, and I hope by thus briefly 
sketching a few of them m\' readers will be 
stimulated into a greater desire to explore God's 
marvellous works in nature. There is an endless 
succession of such wonders to be investigated, but 
in order to find them we need a careful spirit of 
observation, passing nothing by without trying to 
learn something of its life history. Every hedgerow 
is full of delightful problems which will reward the 
interested student. A single field has been found 
to contain as many as fifty different species of 
plants, and every month of the year will present 
a new aspect of life. In the earl}' spring we have 
the germinating seed and the tiny growing moss. 
A little later the opening buds with their wealth of 
interesting points to study, then the unfolding of 

iiAiii r or ck'OW'Tii i\ I'/..i\ts 


the Ica\cs and the L;ia(lual (l(j\ clo|)mciit of the 
llowcr. I Icir and there a chnil)in;^ plant will 
cn^ajj^c onr attention, its mode of cliinbiii<^f, its 
modification of part or parts to enable it success- 


fully to overcome difficulties, its acceptance of help 
by the way — as in the case of a bryony tendril I 
once came across which clever!)' attached itself to 
a minute hole in a laurel leaf — these and many 


other items will interest us in our walks if we keep 
our eyes open. 

Then, as summer slowly passes away and autumn 
approaches, the fruits will engage our attention ; 
their forms and shapes and modes of dispersion 
will afford ample subjects for study. 

Winter, too, still brings its store of pleasure for 
the young botanist. Nature is not dead — she only 


sleeps. Nay, unless there is hard frost and deep 
snow the field for observation is just as wide and 
the harvest as plentiful as at any other season. 
Look on the old apple-trees and see what a host 
of tiny plantlets there is there to glean. Here are 
pale-green bearded moss and lichens, there a branch, 
perhaps, lies on the ground dead and decaying, 
under whose mouldering bark, if we have keen 

HAHIl OF C.kOWill I\ I'L.IXTS 333 

eyes, we nia)- discoxer tin)- tufts of the Mycetozoa, 
whose capsules, under the microscope Tancl in some 
cases even u ith the naked e)e) arc seen to j^i\c off 
chiuds of spores, actuall}' thrown out by the acti\e 
movements of fine waving threads, a sight never 
to be forgotten when it has been watched under 
favourable circumstances. Winter is also rich in 
its harvest of mushroom-like fungi; these will well 
repa>' a little stud)'. We shall be led to note their 
form, colour, mode, and habit of growth, how they 
affect certain trees and soils, and the imjjxjrtant 
difference of some kinds being eatable and others 
virulently poisonous ; the mere book student can 
know \er)' little of the keen pleasure enjoyed by 
those who thus think about what the)' see, and are 
e\er adding to their stock of knowledge b)- per- 
sonal observation. I ma\' close with some true 
and beautiful thoughts b)' one ' who is herself a 
reverent student of the book of nature. 

" No pleasure is more sure and none less costly 
than that of watching day by da)' the signs of the 
coming spring ; than the delight of seeing unex- 

' Miss Blanche Atkinson, nicmhei of the HarniDUth Branch of 
the Selborne Society. 


pectedly the first primrose, and of finding that the 
anemones and hyacinths are pushing their way to 
the sunshine. Year by year the miracle of spring- 
time, when the green leaves are shaken forth from 
the hard bud is more miraculous. Summer after 
summer the lilies are fairer, the wild roses more 
exquisite, and on through the seasons the varying 
pleasures succeed one another. These things never 
pall ; and if the time should come when we can no 
longer go out to the hills and woods to welcome 
the spring and revel in the bounty of summer we 
know that the past is not lost. The fair remem- 
brance of the flowers of the field is safe in our 
hearts, and will ' flash upon that inward eye which 
is the bliss of solitude.' " 



A CLKAR definition of scientific terms invoK'cs .'in 

exact kii(j\\ied<^e of several languay^es, and w hen 

translated into technical phraseology these defini- 

nition often appear to me to be as difficult to a 

simple comprehension as the original words they 

purport to explain. 

I have endeavoured therefore, in this glossar\-, 

to put scientific tcrins into plain words as clearly 

as was consistent with the facts, and not by any 

means to attempt a reall}- exhaustive scientific 



Absciss — A term upplicd to ;i l;ivcr of scparatinji cells. 

Absorption — Taking in food by diffusion. 

Accessory — Anything additional. 

Acetic — Applied to an acid, sour. 

Aclieiw — A small dry indehiscent fruit with a leathery coat. 

Adaptation — As applied to plant-life meaning the structure 

of the plant becomiuif most fitted to its environment. 
Adventitious — Not developed in regular order. 

22 337 


Aerial — Inhabiting or existing in tlie air. 

^■Estivation — The arrangement of the parts of the flower in 

the bud. 
Albiiiiicii — Reserve material contained in the seed, ana- 
logous to the white of an egg. 
AkheDiiUa — A genus of rosaceous plants with small green 

Allium — The onion genus. 
Altitude — Height. 
Ampelopsis — A genus of climbing plants allied to the vine 

whose leaves are brilliantly coloured in autumn. 
Anemopliiloiis — Pollinated by the wind. 
Animalcule — Microscopic insect life. 
Annual — A plant whose duration of life is one season : 

Ex. mignonette. 
Authca — A genus of sea-anemones. 
Anther — The dilated end of the stamen in which tlie pollen 

grains are developed. 
Anthcridium — The case containing the antherozoids in 

cryptogamic plants. 
Anthcrozoides — The male cell, or active member in fertilisa- 
tion of cryptogams. 
Antirrhiuiivi — The snap-dragon genus. 
Antiseptic — Counteracting decay or putrefaction. 
Apocarpous — Applied to the pistil when the carpels are 

distinct or when the pistil consists of one carpel. 
Appendages — Something hanging or appended, extra. 
Aquatic — Relating to water. 

Araucaria — The generic name of the monke^'-puzzle tree. 
Arcltegonium — The flask-shaped organ containing the female 

cell in the cryptogams. 
Arid — Dry and waterless. 

A rill us — An out-growth from the funicle (or seed-coat). 
Aristolochia — A genus of climbing plants with curious 
" prison " flowers which attract and retain insects. 


A III in — A ^ciui^ of poisonous phiiils with an iiitlorcsccncc 
consisting of spadix and spatlic. 

Asexual — Not sexual. 

Aspanif^iis — A j^cnus of cdililc vcj^ctaMts and ciimliinj^ 

Assiiniliilloii — The conversion ot crude lood into proto- 

Aslcr — The generic name of the Michaelmas daisies. 

Arena — The generic name of the oat. 

Awn — The beard of barlev and other corn. 

Axillary — Growing in the axil of the leaf. 


liaclcria — Minute one-celled living atoms, the cause of most 

contagious diseases. 
Bamboo — A giant grass. 
Banana — The fruit of the genus Musa. 
Bark — ^The rough external part of a stem. 
Barm — Same as yeast. 
Bast — The fibrous tissue between tlie bark and the wood of 

a dicotyledonous stem. 
Begonia — A genus of plants with bright flowers and oblique 

or one-sided leaves. 
Betnla — Generic name of the birch-tree. 
Biennial — A plant whose duration of life is two seasons : 

£.v. Beetroot. 
Bifacial — With upper and lower sides structurallv different : 

Ex. laurel leaf. 
Bignonia — A genus of Howering climbing plants. 
Blade — The broad part of the leaf. 
Bougainvillia — A genus of climbing tropical plants with 

bright pink bracts and small yellowish Howers. 
Bulb — A dormant bud surrounded with ticshy scales. 
Bulbils — Small bulbs. 


Bunium — A genus of tuberous Umbcllifem?, earthnut, 
Buoyant — Light, able to tioat in air or water. 
Button-wood — A term applied in America to the plane 


Cacti — A family of succulent plants usually devoid of leaves. 

Caducous — Quickly dropping off. 

Calceolaria — A genus of herbaceous garden plants with 

pouched fiowers. 
Calcium — An element present in all calcareous rocks. 
Calvptra — The hood of a moss-fruit. 
Calyx — The outer whorl of the flower or Horal envelope, 

Cambium-layer — A layer of active growing tissue. 
Campanula — A genus of Alpine and herbaceous plants with 

bell-shaped flowers. 
CampJior — A drug obtained by dry distillation of the leaves 

and stems of Camphora ofticinarum. 
Capillary — Fine and minute, hair-like. 

Carbon-dioxide — Symbol CO,. A gas existing in small quan- 
tities in the air, otherwise called carbonic-acid gas. 
Carbon-monoxide — A poisonous gas whose molecule is com- 
posed of one atom of carbon and one atom of oxygen. 
Carex — A genus of sedge-like plants. 
Carpel — A pistillate leaf, one of the component parts of the 

Caterpillar — The form of an insect after it is hatched, first 

Catkin — A spike of staminate or pistillate flowers usually 

Checkered — Outlined into a square-like pattern. 
Chcvaux de frise — An obstacle consisting of iron spikes set 

in a framework of iron. 
Chlorophvll — The green colouring matter of leaves and stems. 
Cholera — A contagious disease. 

(U.OSS.IRY 341 

CInysiilis — pi. Cliivs;ili(l(.s. 'I'lic form assumed by some 

insects before they reach the winded state. 
Chrysanthemum — A j^eiuisof showy llowerin^ plants belonj^- 

ing to the Conipositie. 
Ciiichoiin — A geiuis of trees yieldinjf quinine. 
Ciniimniilatioii — The rotatinj^ motion made bvthe ^rowint^ 

point of the stem and leaf. 
Cissiis — A ffenus of vinc-Hke plants often with brilliant 

coloured leaves. 
Climatic — Intluenccd bv a climate. 

Coalesce — To fuse, cohering of parts not usually joined. 
Cocos-de-mer — The large double cocoa-nut tree of the 

Sejchelles Isles. 
Collomia — A <ienus of plants whose seeds are remarkable 

for the spiral fibres which expand elastically when 

Compositiv — A ifroup of plants havinj.; an inflorescence 

of Horets arranged upon a common receptacle or 

Concentric — A number of rings having a common centre. 
Cone — The hard woody fruits of the fir-tree. 
Coniferous — F"ir-like, or cone-like ; belonging to the cone- 
bearing faniilv. 
Coniintiiiv — Unbroken succession. 
Corolla — The second whorl of the Horal envelope usually 

brightly coloured. 
Corpuscles — Grains or granular. 
Correlation — i.e., connection, interdependence. 
Cortex — The bark or outer covering of stems. 
Cotyledon — A seed leaf. 
Crucifcra' — A group of plants having their petals arranged 

crosswise, with .six stamens two of which are longer 

than the others. 
Crvptogamic — Relating to flowerless plants. 
Culm — The straw-like stems of the grasse.-. 


Citscuta — The dodder genus, parasitic upon fiax and 

clovers, &c. 
Cuticle — The exterior and thickened part of the epidermis. 
Cyclamen — Dwarf primulaceous plants with shortened stems 



Dahlia — A genus of tuberous-rooted plants. 

Darliii^loiiia — A genus of Californian plants related to the 
side-saddle plants. 

Datura — The generic name of the thorn-apple. 

Debris — Remains, rubbish. 

Deciduous — Applied to plants, the leaves of which fall off in 

Dehiscent — Splitting open when ripe. 

Deodar — A tree allied to the cedar of Lebanon. 

Dcutaria — A cruciferous plant bearing bulbils in the axils 
of the leaves. 

Diagraiuuiatic — Drawn to illustrate a statement. 

Dicotyledon — A plant whose embrvo has two primary seed- 

Diffusion — The intermingling of fluids (gases or liquids). 

Dia'cious — When the pistillate flowers and staminate flowers 
are borne upon separate plants of the same species. 

Dispersion — Scattering. 

Droscra — The generic name of the sundews. 


Elastic — Springy. 

Embryo — The future plant contained in the substance of 

the seed. 
Embryo-sac — The cavity in the substance of the nucellus, 

containing the egg-cell, which after fertilisation 

becomes the embryo. 
Endocarp — The inside layer of the pericarp. 
Entomopliilous — Pollinated by insects. 
Epicarp — The outside layer of the pericarp. 


Epuiiiiiiis — A layer of j^Liicrally llattcned cells toiniin^ the 

skin of the plant. 
Epigcitii — Developed like 11k- cotyledons of nuistard, above 

Ef^ipclitloiis — Giowin}4 upon the petals. 
Erysipelas — A disease ol the hlood causinj.; a red eruption. 
Eucalyptus — The j^eneric name ot the .Vustraiian blue fiuui 

Euonoiniu — \ dry extract made trom tlie root-bark ot 

Kuonymus altro-purpureus, a North American shrub. 
Euonyiiius — A j^enus ot shrubs and hedtlerow trees. 
Euphorbia — Tiie spur<je <4enus. 
Exoiicu — Growint^ bv addition to outside ot wood and inside 

of bark, synoiivmous witii dicotyledon. 

Fcrmcnialioii — Chan<fes that take place in wort wlien barm 

or yeast is added, or when fluids are exposed to the 

air. Sec Yeast. 
FcrlilisCii — Completion of tlie act of fertilisation, i.e., fusion 

of the male element contained in tlie pollen tube witii 

the egg cell of the ovule. 
Fibrous — Meaning a structure of line loose lilaments or 

hairs, i.e., young rootlets. 
Fibro-7'ascular — A compound tissue of fibres and vessels. 
Filaincnl — A thread-like fibre. 
Flaccid — Want of firmness, soft and lax. 
Fructiftciiliou — The fruit system of a plant. 
Fuchsia — A genus of exotic flowering plants having a 

petaloid calyx. 
Function — As applied to plant-life, meaning tiie use and life- 
work of the members of a plant. 
Fuiigoiil — Growth like a fungus. 


Gainopetalous — Petals united. 


Gaiiioscpdloiis — Sepals united. 

Genesis — Creation, production. 

Genniiiaie — The change of the seed from the dormant state 

to the active growing stage. 
Gloxinia — A genus of popuhu" hothouse phmts witii large 

handsome flowers. 


Hiibitat — The natural abode of a plant. 

Herbaeeoiis — Applied to plants which do not form a hard 

woody stem. 
Herbarium — A collection of dried plants. 
Hexagonal — A six-sided and angled figure. 
Hibernating — Sleeping, a dormant condition. 
Hiliini — The black scar on a bean seed. 
Hippitris — A genus of aquatic flowering plants. 
Horizontal — Parallel to the horizon level. 
Hova — A genus of tropical climbing plants. 
//yrtr//////s— Bulbous plants. 
Hydrangea — A genus of flowering shrubs. 
Hygienic — Relating to the preservation of health. 
Hvgronietric — Moisture and its influence. 
Hygroscopic — Applied to the film of water surrounding the 

particles of the soil. 
Hypericum — The generic name of the St. John's wort. 
Hyplicv — Filaments or threads of the fungus spawn. 
Hvpogean — Development of the cotyledons under ground. 


Iinpaticns — The generic name of the balsam. 

Impervious — Not to be penetrated by water. 

Insectivorous — Catching and killing insects, plants that have 

this power and can absorb the decomposed insects. 
Insoluble — Substances that do not dissolve in water. 


////t'/( <■//;/ /((/'^Spaces hctuxx'ii the cells. 
Iiilcniodc — The space between two nodes. 
Iiivoluirc — A wliorl of bracts. 

loiiiitc — \ sohilile substance extracted lioiii kelp and used 
as a le>l tor starch. 

/.(f/>;//-///n;/ — Yelldw-lldwered trees allied to the I'ea 

family (Lejfuminos.-c). 
Legume — The dehiscent fruit of the pea family, a pod. 
Lciiiimiiiosii — A family of plants havint^ for their fruit a 

legume or pod, i.e., Pea, Laburiumi. 
Lciiticcls — Minute pores in the bark. 
Liaiic — A hangintj root or stem. 
Liber — The inner bark, same as phloem. 
Liniuva — A «jenus of dwarf trailing plants. 
I.iiseious — Sweet and succulent. 


Ma}{iiesiiim — The metallic base of magnesia. 
Mdiinolid — A genus of Howering shrubs and trees. 
Mdlionia — A genus of evergreen shrubs belonging to the 

barberry faniilv. 
Mdiiyniii — A genus of plants having capsules with long 

curved hooks. 
Meldinpyniin — A genus of dwarf flowering plants partlv 

Meiiibrdiioiis — Thin and destitute of green colour usually 

applied to bracts. 
Mesocdrp — The central laver of the pericarp. 
Mesopliyll — The ground tissue of the leaf. 
Metdbolisiit — Changes which take place in protoplasm and 

which it causes in other substances. 
Mie robes — A term applied to one-celled plant atoms, like 



Micropvlc — A small pore in the coats of the ovule through 

which the pollen tube passes. 
Modiciiui — Moderate sized ; a small quantity. 
Monocotvlcdoii — A plant whose seed is furnished with one 

seed leaf. 
Moinvcious — Applied to a plant when the stamens and pistil 

are in distinct flowers. 
Moiistcm — A genus of climbing aroids with edible fruit. 
Mucilaginous — Sticky, gumlike, secreting mucilage. 
Miiciiiia — A genus of Brazilian Leguminosae, yielding the 

cowage (consisting of intensely irritating hairs), of the 

Materia Medica. 
Mutualism — Interchange of some advantage, botanically 

applied to the union of two dissimilar plants which 

live in close contact with each other to their mutual 

Mycelium — The root-like colourless filaments of fungi. 
Mycctozoa — A term applied to the slime-fungi. 


Nectary — A honey secreting gland or spur. 

N cmopUila — A genus of dwarf annual flowering plants. 

Nepenthes — A genus of plants having as a prolongation of 

the midrib of the leaves, ascidia or pitchers. 
Nocturnal — Happening by night. 
Node — The exact point on the stem from which the leaf is 

Normal — Regular, unaffected by any modification. 
Noxious — Hurtful or poisonous. 
Nuccllus — The internal tissue of the ovule within which the 

embryo-sac is embedded. 
Nutrition — The process and function of taking in food for 

the purpose of growth and to replace waste. 



Orchis — A <^ciuis of the (Jixliid lainily j^rowiiij^ in tlic soil. 
Osmosis — Tlic passaj^c ot liiiids tliroiij^li a iiK-mlnaiu-. 
Oviirv — The ovule case, that part of tlie carpel that iuars 

Ovule — The structure wliicli after tertilisation tornis the 

Ovum — The egjf ceil ot tile ovule. 
Oxalis — Tlie generic name of tlie wood sorrei. 
Oxyilcii — A »jas, one of tiie constituents of tlie atniospiiere. 

Palisaih'-tissuc — A tissue of oblong cells placed side by side 

at rit^ht angles to the flat surface of the leaf. 
Papilionaceous — KutterHv sliaped. 
Pappus — A light hairv development from tiie caivx of some 

Parasitic — Tiie liabit of growing upon and fleriving nourisii- 

nient from another plant. 
Pcllucul — Siiining and transparent. 
Perennial — Plants tiiat live for an indelmite period. 
Perianth — A term used wiien tiiere is no distinction between 

caivx and corolla. 
Pericarp — The ripened walls of the ovarv constituting tiie 

structure of tiie fruit. 
Persistent — Applied to tiie parts of tiie Mower tiiat remain 

on for some time. 
Petunia — A genus of Brazilian Soianaceie. 
Philoiicndron — A genus of aroids usually climbers. 
Phlcum — A grass. 

Phloem — The inner baric, containing sieve-tubes. 
Phospliate — A salt formed liy tiie union of piiosphoric acid 

witii some base. 
Phvllotaxis — Tlie law of leaf arrangement. 
Phvsalis — The generic name of the winter clierrv. 


Plivsiological — Having reference to the function or life work 

of the plant. 
Picca — A genus of tlie Conifer family. 
Piiuiiiiii — A garden devoted to the culture of pine-trees. 
Pingiiicula — The generic name of the butterworts. 
Piiius — A genus of the Conifer family. 
Pistil — The female part of the Hower consisting of ovary, 

style, and stigma. 
Pistillate — Applied to flowers having the pistil only. 
Pith — The soft tissue in the centre of the stem. 
Plumbago — The generic name of the leadworts, small 

flowering plants and shrubs 
Pliimiilc — The first stem shoot of the germinating seed. 
Poa — A grass. 
Poinsett ia — A genus of Mexican plants having bright scarlet 

bracts and small flowers. 
Pollard — A tree trunk with its branches cut short. 
Pollen — The fertilising or male part of the flower. 
Pollination — The act of conveying the pollen from the 

stamen to the stigma. 
Polypctalous — Separate or many petals. 
Polysepalous — Separate or many sepals. 
Polytrichum — The generic name of the hair moss. 
Potassium — The metallic base of potash. 
Proboscis — The feeling and feeding organ of an insect. 
Prothallus — The first growth when the spore of a fern 

Protococcus — A genus of unicellular plants forming a green 

stain upon trees, &c. 
Protoncma — The first growth of the moss-spore. 
Protoplasm — A highly complex substance forming the essen- 
tial part of all living cells, and to which all life growth 

is due. 
Prototypes- — First forms of plant-life. 
Psamma — A genus of the grass family. 


Pscitdo-biilb — A swollen stem coniiiioii in tla- cpiphvtie 

I'hris — The <ieneiic name of the bracken fern. 


Quiescent — Inactive, dormant. 

Quinine — An alkaloid extracted from the cinchona trees. 


Riiiiick — The first formed root when a seed j^erminates. 

Rajflesia — A j^enus of brown leafless parasites. 

Receptacle — That part of the stalk on which the flower is 

Resin — A secretion from certain trees which hardens on 

Respiration — The process of breathing. 

Rliinantlius — The generic name of the vcllow-rattle (a root 

Rhododeniiron — A genus of popular tfowering shrubs and 
dwarf trees. 

Root-cap — A loose covering of tissue that protects the ex- 
treme point of the growing root. 

Root-hairs — The delicate unicellular hair^ found on the 
young root. 


Salicinc — A substance obtained from the bark of willows, 
soluble in water and alcohol, and crystallising in bright 
white needles. 

Salvia — A genus of labiate plants. 

Samara — Winged fruit. 

Sapropliyte — Plants that live upon decaying organic matter. 

Sarracenia — The generic name of the Xorth American 
side-saddle plants. 

Saxifraga — A genus of dwarf Alpine plants. 


Scales — RudimL-ntarv leaves. 

Sccniioii — Applied to substances like resin and honev, the 

production of assimilation and metabolism. 
Sci/inn — A genus of succulent Alpine plants. 
Sflliiblc — Any substance that dissolves in water. 
Spdciix — The inflorescence of the Aroide^e. 
SpatJic — The bract of the Aroideae. 

Sponiiigiiiin — The spore-case of some of the cryptogamia. 
Spurious — False. 
Stapelia — A genus of succulent plants, very poisonous and 

Starch — Colourless grains, a product of assimilation in the 

Stigma — The receptive part of the pistil. 
Stipa — A genus of the grass family. 
Stipules — Small outgrowths at the base of the petiole. 
Stomata — Minute pores in the epidermis of the leaf or green 

Siilpliatc — A salt formed by the combination of sulphuric 

acid with some base. 
Sycamore — The plane tree of Scotland, Acer pseudoplatanus. 
Symbiosis — Mutualism, a living for one another, interchange 

of benefits by united growth. 
Sv acarpous — United carpels. 

Tannin — A substance widely diffused througli the leaves 

and stems of plants, of an astringent character. 
Tap-root — A root that forms an unbranched tapering axis : 

Ex., carrot. 
Tendril — A coiled or hooked filament modified to assist 

plants to climb. 
Tentacles — The glandular and feeler -like hairs of the 

Terminal — At the apex or end. 


Tcsia — TIr- skin of M.-f(i. 

TiflcHuni — The I'liNt s(;ilk of tliu sllcI iKariiij^ llic cotyle- 

Tilltiiiihid — A N'cw World ^ciuis of ptTcliiiif^ or cpiplivtic 

Tissue — A J^roup of cells ; liavin<.j a conunun orij^in. 

loniiiiililla — A j^cnus of small creeping rosaceous plants. 

Tmiispiralioii — Tiie givinj^ off of water vapour from the 
surface of leaves and stems. 

Tricyrtis — The generic name of the toad-lilv. 

Tuber — A fleshy root or succulent undergnnmd stem. 


UiubcUiliiiv — A group of plants liaving an unilKllate arrange- 
ment of the intioiescence or llower-iiead. 


Vallisncria — A genus of aipiatic llowering plants. 

Valvcd — Having valves, c.i^., anther of the barberry. 

Vapour — Gas into which most liquids and solids are con- 
verted by heat. 

Vasculiiiii — A little vessel or bo.\ for collecting botanical 
and other specimens. 

Venation — The arrangement of veins in a leaf. 


Weigeliii — A genus of flowering shrubs allied to Honeysuckle. 
Whorl — An arrangement of leaves or parts of the Hower 

in rings. 
]\'ori — Sweet unfermented new beer. 


y^easl — A unicellular plant that sets up fermentation under 
certain conditions. 


O- J 


Brightwen, Eliza El/Glimpses into plant 

3 5185 00109 8878